“Believe in yourself, take on your challenges, dig deep within yourself to conquer fears. Never let anyone bring you down. You got to keep going.” -Chantal Sutherland
Forward Thinkers, in the month of May, I always review my life and make adjustments to stay on course as I enter into another year of life.
This series is called the I series because I want everyone to look in their own mirror and review their lives and their current status and commit to making real changes to get you back on track and position yourself to win.
Forward Thinkers, it all starts with you so today we will open up with I believe because nothing can happen until you believe it can happen to you.
Forward Thinkers, as a man, woman, boy or girl thinks and believes, so are they; according to the bible. Therefore, you are what you believe you are.
Forward Thinkers, I believe believers can bounce back.
Ezekiel 37:1-14 New International Version (NIV)
The Valley of Dry Bones
37 The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. 2 He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. 3 He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”
I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.”
4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! 5 This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath[a] enter you, and you will come to life. 6 I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”
7 So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. 8 I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.
9 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’” 10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.
11 Then he said to me: “Son of man, these bones are the people of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’ 12 Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. 13 Then you, my people, will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. 14 I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken, and I have done it, declares the Lord.’”
Forward Thinkers, the name Ezekiel means “God strengthens” and that is great news to know that in your times of weakness; God strengthens. Forward Thinkers, the bible reminds us that when we are weak, Christ is strong and we can lean and depend on the strength of Christ. Forward Thinkers, we are aware of the struggles that life will bring but through it all, we can walk by faith knowing Christ will strengthen us to keep going.
Forward Thinkers, early in my life, my grandfather molded me into a preacher but God strengthened me to stay the course after his death; and today, through the book of Ezekiel, I pray you will be strengthened to continue your journey.
Forward Thinkers, there are two major themes repeated throughout the book of Ezekiel:
1) To encourage the exiles with prophecies of God’s future blessings on Israel. Forward Thinkers, this is important to us because we are modern day exiles in America operating under the promises of an amazing God.
2) To emphasize the priority of God’s glory. Forward Thinkers, because of God’s glory, we are assured to live in victory.
Forward Thinkers, there are words of encouragement from the book of Ezekiel:
1) Forward Thinkers, for the sake of God’s holy name, you’re coming out of the valleys of life.
2) Forward Thinkers, after God brings you out, you will know that He is the Lord.
3) Forward Thinkers, your story of coming out will bring God glory. Therefore, hold on, no matter what it looks like because God’s glory has to be revealed.
Forward Thinkers, Ezekiel was set by the Lord in the middle of a valley and the reality is, all believers will experience some time in the valleys of life but we must stay encouraged. Forward Thinkers, our time in the valley can be a setback or a setup. It all depends on your mindset. The Grand Canyon is nothing but a glorified valley but people love to visit the Grand Canyon because they view it as a special place. Today, I’m challenging you to view your time in the valley as a special time.
Forward Thinkers, the bible describes the valley as a valley full of bones. It even gets a little more descriptive and calls it a valley of bones that were very dry. Forward Thinkers, bones mean something has died and very dry mean something has been dead for a long time. Today, somebody’s negative situation has gone on far too long.
Forward Thinkers, God asked Ezekiel can these bones live again. Forward Thinkers, we must understand that teachers give tests to determine where we are (pop quiz) and the teachers don’t need answers but they need to know if we have the answers.
Forward Thinkers, are you ready for a pop quiz?
Questions: 1) Can a blind man see again? 2) Can a lame man walk again? 3) Will the meek inherit the earth? 4) Are all things possible with God? 5) Can God supply all your needs? 6) Can God save a man or woman like you and I?
Two Extra Credit Questions: 1) Are you coming out of your valley? 2) Are the best days of your life yet to come?
Forward Thinkers, the answers to each of these questions is, yes, I believe.
Forward Thinkers, God tells Ezekiel to preach and prophesy to the dry bones. The results will be God entering breath back into them. Forward Thinkers, I can’t help but think of Eric Garner crying out, “I can’t breathe” as the New York police officer choked the life out of him but God is declaring, “I’m going to give a life-less generation back their life”.
Forward Thinkers, after God does this, you will know that nothing is impossible for God and that God can bring you through anything. THE RESULTS WILL MAKE YOU BELIEVE IN A RESULT PRODUCING KIND OF GOD.
Forward Thinkers, in conclusion, I believe with God all things are possible and I believe this is the season when believers will bounce back and reclaim everything the devil has broken and stolen.
Pastor E. A. Deckard is the Senior Pastor/Founder of the Green House International Church located, in both Houston, Texas, and the Woodlands, Texas. Pastor Deckard is also the Co-Founder of the No More Bloodshed Movement. To contact Pastor Deckard for speaking engagements contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow him on Facebook, Instagram and Periscope @ Pastor E A Deckard or the church website www.ghic.net