- When surrounded by adversity, rising above it can be daunting
- Encouragement pops chains and pushes back words of ridicule
- We join with others so that our voices may be heard
- Joyful laughter bubbles forth with good company
- Our reactions to others are our own choices
- How we respond makes room for light or drives all into darkest gloom
- We seek many things to quench our thirst
- What we gain may fall flat and leave us without satisfaction
- Thirst for what is lifegiving
- We bob about in confusion when we lack purpose
- A bubbly personality brings smiles and lightens the day
- We are filled and completed by God’s Spirit
• Strength of character is an asset
• Dedication and hard work are commendable
• Working together brings about strong finishes
• Think and pray before making commitments
• When you make a commitment stick to it
• Keep your goals ever before you
• Remember to take time out for a slower pace
• Spend quiet solitary time to reflect
• Join others in relaxed company
• Letting go of anxiety develops inner peace
• Mind and body absorb whatever you immerse yourself in
• Thoughts turned to the Spirit lead to contentment in life
from “Reflections from the Everyday”
The hum of the big exhaust fan in the window of our upstairs hallway signaled the beginning of another summer evening. As night drew closer, the familiar voices and sounds of my family about the house or in the yard were comforting and familiar. In those days of yesteryear, I see myself stretched out on my bed or curled up on my window seat reading a good book or just watching life from my bedroom window. To this day these same things in my own home bring contentment and peace.
We always closed the windows and retreated to the cooler lower floor during the day as summer’s heat began to build around mid-morning. Then, as evening’s cool touch came, the windows were opened, and the fans began to draw out the warm air that had built up in our upstairs rooms through the day. I remember breathing deeply of the cool night’s air as it was drawn in and listening to the sounds of life… the voices of insects, tree frogs, and owls and the rhythm of our small-town. The refreshing coolness brought a sense of peace and renewal, especially if the day had been long or difficult.
The windows of our hearts can be like those rooms on hot summer days. Sometimes we close them – perhaps due to doubt, anger, or fear – as we seek to guard ourselves or to declare our own will. I know that when I am hurt, let down, angry, or disappointed I too tend to withdraw and shut off as much as possible from its source. This may bring some relief for a time, until there is room for healing and the opening of those windows.
As we beat against the ills we see, so that our ears are deafened to all else, God’s cool healing breath washes over our world. May we not fail to see and feel it! There is injustice in this world, but there is also the breath of God. Like those fans, as we open our hearts to God, His breath fills us and draws from us that which is stale and stifling… that which has caused hurt.
Have you considered the breath of God? As in the beginning of time, “then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” *
We are living beings, whom God loves, and He said it was very good. *
My prayer for our world is that we will know God’s refreshing and renewing breath. I pray that He will draw from us that which is stale and stifling, driven by hurt, and fill us with the hope of His Spirit.
* Genesis 1:31, 2:7
• What we take in determines life
• Sometimes harmful things enter
• It is important to filter what comes in
• Ridding ourselves of harmful influences can be difficult
• Approach that which affects us with prayerful consideration
• We each have distinctive attributes
• It is important to determine what is central
• We are connected to others
• Shade and sunscreen can protect from overexposure
• Deeply breath in the Spirit in your daily walk
A joyful chuckle
Lifts the soul
Small child’s squeal
Or belly bellow
For weary heart
A blessing true
To lift and heal
No scorn or scoff
But strengthening spirit
A joyful chuckle
Lifts the soul
When the Hebrew people were in the land of exile, home of the Babylonians, God first spoke to the Jewish priest named Ezekiel. He was only thirty years old! … God had allowed the people to be taken into exile because they had turned from Him, worshiping idols, offering their children as sacrifices, living immorally, violently, and selfishly.
God gave words to his new prophet Ezekiel to call them back to Himself, hard words and difficult messages. There were some really weird visions!
In one vision, there was a valley full of dry bones!
“Ezekiel, can these bones live?!”
“Only You know sovereign God!”
“Prophesy, speak to these bones. I will restore them and put breath back into them.”
And so, Ezekiel obeyed and God did as He said He would.
Wow! Dry bones. Dead. Without life. Unable to stand. To walk. To serve God and care for others. God speaks, breaths on those dry bones (on us), and restores life. Sinews. Flesh. Bones knitting together. We begin to take on God’s character. The breath of God’s Spirit fills us and He raises His children to stand in that dark valley of dry bones.
Shepherd us, oh LORD I pray!
Bring our dry bones to life!
Breathe in us Your very being,
That we may walk in You anew!