The hand of the Lord came upon me and brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley; and it was full of bones. Then He caused me to pass by them all around, and behold, there were very many in the open valley; and indeed they were very dry. And He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” So I answered, “O Lord God, You know.” Again 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: “Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live. I will put sinews on you and bring flesh upon you, cover you with skin and put breath in you; and you shall live. Then you shall know that I am the Lord.”’”So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and suddenly a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to bone. Indeed, as I looked, the sinews and the flesh came upon them, and the skin covered them over; but there was no breath in them. Also He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.”’” So I prophesied as He commanded me, and breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army. Then He said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They indeed say, ‘Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off!’ Therefore prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Behold, O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. Then you shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up from your graves. I will put My Spirit in you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken it and performed it,” says the Lord.’”
Isn’t this beautiful? Okay, granted, some people would probably think it was creepy, and if I saw it literally… to be honest, I’d probably run and and hide. But take in the symbolism.
I recently spoke to my old youth pastor about ministry in the church today. When I asked him to describe today’s church he answered without hesitation, “It’s going downhill fast.”
To me, and the way it should be to you, the church is not the building. The church is the people. And the church is the dry bones of Ezekial. And our generation, “the Millennials” is the generation to bring Ezekial’s prophecy to life. It is our time to “come up from [our] graves”! It is our time to live!!!
I will place My Spirit in you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land.Then you shall know that I, the LORD, have spoken it and performed it.
The world is ours, because we are God’s, and He gave us dominion over it. And because we are God’s, the world is His.
God has spoken in His holiness:“I will rejoice;I will divide ShechemAnd measure out the Valley of Succoth. Gilead is Mine; Manasseh is Mine;Ephraim also is the helmet for My head;Judah is My lawgiver.9 Moab is My washpot;Over Edom I will cast My shoe;Over Philistia I will triumph.”
The world is His. And it is our duty, our honor, and our privilege to remind the world that it is His.
I believe in our generation with all that I am. And Millennials… it is tame to wake up and it is time to stand up! “Millennials” is the name the secular world has given us. But it does not identify us. We are the Joshua Generation.
That being said…
JOSHUAS… WAKE UP! STAND UP!
It’s time to bring the world to its knees.
This summer I “moved out” for the first time. I was still with family, but I was no longer under my parents roof. This sort of thing is viewed as a big step in the process of “growing up.” And the fact is, I am growing up… I am grown up.
Another major step of this whole “growing up” thing is this theory of “settling down.” Now, I’m one of those people who has always sworn I would never be one to settle down early. But as time goes on, I have begun to realize I want to settle down. Ohh I want SO badly to settle down.
I’ve mentioned this in passing to one or two close friends.One of my friends, we’ll call him Ian, knows me very well. He’s that friend that knows me so well it’s annoying, but I wouldn’t trade him for anything. Anyway, back on focus, I was telling Ian about this, and a guy I might be interested in an he said to me “I want you to have the best… don’t settle for this guy just because he’s there.”
I have high standards, and as glorious as it will be when I find “the one”… as much as I can’t wait, at the same time, I’m not in a rush.
As I was sitting in church service this morning, during a time of silence, I was praying about this, and I just felt contentment, and I know God has a plan for me and that He has someone SO special for me!
Yes, I want to settle down, but I won’t settle in the process. I’m willing to wait on God’s timing, because I want the guy who’s going to sweep me off my feet.
Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the ninth hour, the hour of prayer. And a man who had been lame from his mother’s womb was being carried along, whom they used to set down every day at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, in order to beg alms of those who were entering the temple. When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he began asking to receive alms. But Peter, along with John, fixed his gaze on him and said, “Look at us!” And he began to give them his attention, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, “I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene—walk!” And seizing him by the right hand, he raised him up; and immediately his feet and his ankles were strengthened. With a leap he stood upright and began to walk; and he entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. And all the people saw him walking and praising God; and they were taking note of him as being the one who used to sit at the Beautiful Gate of the temple to beg alms, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.
This has to be one of my favorite stories in the Bible. An honest to God miracle performed by regular people just like me. But as awesome as that is, that’s not why I love this story. You want to know why I love this story? Well I’m gonna tell you anyway.
I love this story because the man who was healed could have easily followed human nature and praised Peter and John for his healing, regardless of the fact they clearly state it is “In the name of Jesus”. But does he? No. He praises the one who is worthy of it. He instinctively accepts that it is thanks to GOD he has been healed.
So tell me… why don’t we do that today? We pray for something, it happens. But so often we just shrug off that it was God’s doing. We rationalize that ‘things just worked out.’ NO!!!Things did not just work out!
Ask,and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
Whatever it is, it didn’t just happen! It was a divine appointment! So long ago a lame man stood up and walked… LEAPED! and he praised GOD because he accepted that this miracle did not ‘just happen’. Why do we have such a hard time accepting such things today?
The Bible prophesies the coming of a generation that will love the Lord. A generation that will change the world for the better. This prophesied generation has come to be known as the Joshua Generation.
Psalm 24:5- This is the generation of those who seek Him, Who seek Your face— even Jacob.
Psalm 102:18- This will be written for the generation to come, That a people yet to be created may praise the Lord.
Who was Joshua?
Numbers 27:22-23- Moses did as the Lord commanded him; and he took Joshua and set him before Eleazar [the priest] and before all the congregation. Then he laid his hands on him and commissioned him, just as the Lord had spoken through Moses.
Joshua was Moses’ successor. He was a man deeply faithful to God and an honored leader. Joshua and his friend Caleb were the only two of twelve spies with enough faith in God’s promise to believe they could take immediate possession of the Promised Land.
Joshua was chosen by God to complete the work of Moses. To bring God’s people into the Promised Land of the Israelites.
What is a generation?
Merriam-Webster defines a generation as “a group of individuals born and living contemporaneously”. Which essentially means a group of people all born and living around the same time.
What is the Joshua Generation?
Who is the Joshua Generation?
Jonny Diaz has a song called Prodigal Like Me that begins ”Joshua blow your trumpets towards the walls around my heart, And you better bring your army come and tear my world apart”
The Joshua Generation is the generation that is going to bring this apathetic, dark, falling world jumping back to its feet and into the light with a passion for Christ that has never been seen before! The Joshua Generation is the generation that is going to bring God’s Word to the world and His people back to the Promised Land!
WE are the Joshua Generation. Right here. Right now. US!
Why do I believe we are the Joshua Generation?
Why not?! Look at our generation! As dark as this world is today, when was the last time you saw so many young people so on fire and SO passionate for Christ?! Never before have we had the access to the world like we do today. Never before have we had the tools we today. We have cars and trains and boats and airplanes. We have smartphones, and computers and the internet. We have medicine to battle virtually any disease anywhere that would be an obstacle to serving. Will all these things continue to improve over the years and be better for future generations? Sure. But what’s stopping us from starting now? Nothing but our own hesitation!!! We can go anywhere. We can do anything. Why not do all things to His glory? How phenomenal would it be to be the fulfillment of a prophesy?! Reading the stories of the Bible is great! But why not become a part of those stories?!
People… WAKE UP!!! Time to get up and get moving.
WE ARE THE JOSHUA GENERATION.
Now… let’s prove it.
~80 other girls in my dorm
~200 other students on campus
151 phone contacts
256 Facebook friends
I am completely surrounded by people.
Yet I am completely alone.
I just started college. I have been away from home before, no big deal. But this is the first time I’ve been away somewhere that I know nobody. At all. Every time I’ve been away from home before I’ve had somebody, whether it was friend or family, I have never before now been completely on my own.
A couple of days ago it really hit me how alone I am. I felt so, so lonely it almost felt like depression. I just wanted to curl up in a ball and cry or go sprinting back to anywhere where I knew somebody. Yet all those people… literally hundreds of people, and I can count on one hand… a couple fingers really, those of them I felt safe enough to share my thoughts, my fear, my anxiety with.
I’m not a social person. I don’t make friends easily. I rarely, if ever, admit this to anyone, but I am terrified of talking to new people, because the possibility of rejection scares me to death. I realized recently, after doing some research, I’ve developed a form of social anxiety because of this fear. Instead of taking the risk of talking to people to make new friends, I hide away in random corners or my room, keep to myself, and for all intents and purposes watch the world pass me by.
Then, the day I’m having all these thoughts, I get a text from a dear friend. Someone I know God has placed in my life to encourage me and keep me accountable. I open up the message and this is what I see:
Deuteronomy 31:6 “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them. For the Lord your God goes with you, He will never leave you nor forsake you” pray and think on this verse today.. remember YOU are never alone
Isn’t our God faithful?! Only He could have known how badly I needed that reminder that day. I lost count of how many times I went back to that message that day. I wrote the verse down in my best handwriting on some pretty paper and framed it and set it on my desk where I can see it every day. A reminder that I am not alone and if the people if this world reject me, it’s okay, because I AM NOT ALONE, even if sometimes I feel like I am. I have a God who is faithful and present! How amazing is that? I just have to remind myself, whatever happens is His will and if someone rejects me, then they’re not supposed to be in my life. I can do this.
This is for all the Lairs.
God LOVES YOU.
Jesus DIED on a cross for YOU.
God HATES the SIN, but LOVES the SINNER.
And so do I.
Inbox me if you have any questions about this God that loves you despite what you have done.
Amen! Couldn’t have said it better myself!
… life is going to hit you in the face. Now for those few of you who know me, you know I haven’t had the worst life, but it sure as anything hasn’t been easy either. I’ve had some bad times, but remembering the good times is what really kills me. Most of the time those memories bring a smile to my face, but nights like tonight, I close the door to the bathroom, turn the fan on, and cry my eyes out.
Looking back on my life is a lot like looking at the ocean. Sometimes it’s calm and serene, other times it’s a raging storm. Sometimes it makes me happy, other times it makes me sad. Sometimes it makes me feel connected, feel like I’m a part of something… and other times it makes me feel empty and alone.
I never know when nights like this are going to hit. Just the smallest things can set me off. A picture of my friends without me, a status on Facebook, a comment about some gathering I’m not going to be at… and I just break down and scream at God asking why my life turned out this way, why I couldn’t just stay where I was happy… and I know the answer. If I had stayed in that place in my life, I would’ve missed so many other things in my life, but that doesn’t make the heartache go away. I still don’t know what God’s plan is for me, but I know he has one.
Ecclesiastes 3:11 tells us:
God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.
There are times I have a hard time accepting my life for what it’s been, but my life is my testimony. My life is my story. And my life has made me who I am.
"It was not the feeling of completeness I so needed, but the feeling of not being empty." - Jonathan Safran Foer
Last week a very dear friend of mine was married in Alabama and I was a bridesmaid. I flew out early to help with wedding prep and spend time with her before the big day. I spent a week and a half with her, her family, and her community. She lives in a very small town in an even smaller holiness community. I’m a believer in Christ and I have attended church all my life, but I don’t have any experience with holiness churches. Never in my life have I experienced the deep level of familial commitment to one another their community shares. At first I thought it was due to the fact that they’ve all grown up together, and to a point that’s true. But the more time I spent among them, I began to realize the number of years they’ve all been together has very little to do with it. Their bonds are based on their commitments to God and truly biblical living.
The women do not cut their hair, and the men keep their hair short (1 Corinthians 11). Most of the women don’t wear makeup. Everyone dresses very modestly (1 Timothy 2, 1 Peter 3). They are conscious of what they watch and listen to. They truly live by the guidelines of Romans 12:2- ”And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” They live simple, biblical lives. And they love each other and they are happy.
I left feeling empty. Feeling… bereft and envious. I’ve never experienced the fellowship they share on a daily basis and I want it desperately… Their faith and their bonds with each other astound me and make me want to be a part of it.
Never would I have guessed I would even consider making the decision to spend the rest of my life wearing skirts and not cutting my hair, but the simple and modest beauty of it all is so appealing. I’m not sure I’m ready to give up my jeans quite yet, but my heart and soul feel empty when I think of my spiritual life in comparison to theirs. And if a simple life style change to adjust my focus would put me on the road toward sharing a fellowship I currently feel entirely bereft of… it’s a sacrifice well worth making.
Part 2) Agape
In the New Testament, the fatherly love of God for humans and their reciprocal love for God. The term extends to the love of one’s fellow humans. (source: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/agape)
In truth, Agape love is the exact opposite of the phrase “love is blind.” Agape is all-encompassing. It recognizes our flaws with open eyes and accepts us anyway. This is how God loves us. This is how we are supposed to love each other.
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. (source: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+13:34&version=NASB)
We are to love in spite of flaws. We are to love in spite of sin. True love accepts people as they are. Quirks and all.
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