Dead Bones Come to Life – Ezekiel 37:5-6 Devotional

Video Credits: “Dead Come to Life” by Jonathan Thulin (feat. Charmaine)

“This is what the Sovereign Lord says: ‘Look! I am going to put breath into you and make you live again! I will put flesh and muscles on you and cover you with skin. I will put breath into you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.'”

-Ezekiel 37:5-6 (NLT)

Ezekiel 37 accounts one of the strangest stories in the Bible, yet nonetheless fascinating.

God brought Ezekiel to a field of dry bones. God gave Ezekiel a prophetic message to speak over the bones – that the Lord would give them flesh and breath again.

And they did! The bones were scattered everywhere, but started coming together to make complete skeletons.

Muscles and flesh began to form on them, but they still had no breath. They were sort of like the Walking Dead.

Then, Ezekiel prophesied again and God brought  the breath of life to the bones.

Alive, they stood to their feet and become a vast army.

I can’t imagine how scary, yet cool that would have been. I live pretty close to a cemetery. There’s always this one tombstone that’s lit up and I swear it looks like there’s a party going on over there. I probably watched too much Scooby-Doo as a kid, but cemeteries still creep me out.

How crazy would it be to see skeletons come out of tombstones and become alive?!

I wonder if the bones in Ezekiel’s story were people he knew from his past or semi-recent ancestors? Or had they decomposed multiple lifetimes before?

While the Bible doesn’t say who the bones belonged to exactly, there were so many people brought back to life that they were as big as an army.

God allowed this to happen as a sign for Israel. They felt like dead, dry bones because they were exiled from their land and had lost hope. God promised that He would bring them back from the graves of captivity, put His Spirit in them, and bring them back to life in their land.

This passage is a reminder that we serve the Creator of life. No matter how “dead” you feel from depression, sickness, stress, or day-to-day life, God can revive you.

In the music video, Jonathan Thulin presents an allegory of the gospel message. This is the ultimate way God brings us back to life. When we choose to accept His free gift of salvation, we don’t have to wander in darkness and die aimlessly.

As we get closer to Easter, this is a great way to reflect on Jesus’ sacrificial death and resurrection. Through Jesus, we who were once dead in sins are made alive in Christ! (Ephesians 2:4-5)

He gives us purpose and life. He renews us and breathes life into our dry bones.

What a mighty life-giving God we serve!

God Hears Our Broken Prayers

Video Credits: “Broken Prayers” by Riley Clemmons

Riley Clemmons is new to the Christian music scene. You can hear her debut single “Broken Prayers” on Resound Radio.

In a YouTube video, Clemmons says she felt “especially broken and imperfect” the day she wrote this song. She had scheduled time to write in the studio and thought about canceling her session. But after talking with her co-writers, she realized the brokenness she felt was okay to bring to God.

Clemmons says, “This song came from a place of truly finding peace in the fact that God takes you at your most broken, at your lowest place. Not only does he take you there, but He delights in it and genuinely loves you in that place.”

 

I love Riley Clemmons’s honesty in the first verse.

I’ve been taught how to talk to You
Hold it together
Make the bad look better
Say all the words that I’m supposed to
Bow my head, say, “Amen”
Yeah, that’ll do
Making every dead-end look like heaven
Like being okay is the way to reach You

In our culture, people ask “How are you?” flippantly. Most people respond with “fine”, even if they’re not. Whether or not our friends or co-workers really care or not, it’s easier to hide our true feelings. It’s hard to admit we’re struggling. We may feel like we’re disappointing God or we’re not a strong enough Christian if our life is imperfect.

The past few weeks have been extremely stressful in my own life. I have three major assignments due next week, family health concerns, and a funeral with non-believing family coming up this weekend. I feel worn out and overwhelmed, yet I almost subconsciously put on a front like everything’s okay.

Maybe you’ve been having one of those days or weeks too.

That’s why this song is so comforting. It’s okay to not be perfect. It’s all right to bring our brokenness to God.

1 Peter 5:7 (NLT) says, “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.”

The chorus of broken tears expresses this point beautifully…

You want my tears, every messy word
Every scar and every fear
You want all I have
With no holding back
When I’m hurt, at my worst
You meet me there
‘Cause You see the beauty
In my broken prayers!

Easter Break is almost here. This is a stressful time of the semester, but how comforting is it to know that we can come to God broken and he genuinely cares about everything we’re going through?!

DJ Spotlights | Alyx Vissing

Alyx Vissing: Freshman

Broadcasting Major with an emphasis in Audio/Radio with a minor in Music Tech

Ironton, Ohio

On-Air Shift: Monday’s 8-10am

What is your favorite…

Food? My favorite food would either be buffalo wings or tacos

Color? Pink. Light pink, something pale, like a blush.

Bible Verse?  My favorite Bible verse would either be Galatians 2:20 or Isaiah 53:5.

I like Gal 2:20 just because of the full illustration it gives of how our Christian life ought to be lived. That I am crucified with Christ so with the “I die daily” aspect, but also, nevertheless I live, but now Christ in me. I think it’s a really great picture of how our daily life ought to operate.

Then Isaiah 53:5 I feel like is a really beautiful picture of what the Gospel really is. Jesus dying for all of these things and just the depth of the pain that He went through and then at the end of the verse, the last line is “by His stripes, I am healed.” For me, that was always a beautiful picture. As a teenager, I went through a battle with self-harm and so that took on a new meaning as I grew older. The fact that not by my stripes, it wasn’t anything I did to myself, but because of Him I am healed through both of those things.

Resound song? Currently, the one I have listened to the most as of late is by Crowder. Let me see… All My Hope by Crowder! I love the tune of it, but the lyrics are always why I fall in love with the song and I just love the entire concept that ALL my hope is in Jesus. Just. The depth of that.

What got you interested in Resound? I have always loved music and was very interested in radio as a whole. This was a way for me to not only learn, but also to gain actual experience that I will continue to apply through my career.

Are you involved in anything else on campus? I am currently running unopposed for Sophomore Class Women’s Ministry leader and I am a news anchor for Cedars.

What are your hobbies? I love to sing, I write music, and I do a lot of stuff! I like anything creative, really. I guess if you could count talking as a hobby….

What is a goal you have for your life? I would love to either have my own live radio show and be a radio broadcaster or to be able to produce my own music.

Is there anything you want to tell people that you don’t get the chance to on the air? I would say really, just that, Resound is this amazing opportunity. That even though we may hear it in passing as we go through the lower SSC or just have it on in the background, it is such a safe place to be able to connect through all the things that we love through music and through Christ with other people. That to me is such a beautiful, intimate thing though something we get to experience casually within  our everyday life. I know I, personally, don’t appreciate as much as I ought to all the time and I appreciate the opportunity to get to share that with others.

Chains Will Break

“But I do the very thing I hate…”

Sin is always so appealing. Whether it’s cheating on an exam to get that grade you want, stretching the truth to earn trust or approval, spreading gossip, it could be anything. The attraction lies in the benefit. A satisfaction seemingly so good that boundaries are crossed, mistakes are made, lies are told, tracks are covered, and consequences are ignored. A temptation that is so strong that we no longer care what is right or wrong and then we cave in.

I know I can relate to this. I try to break a habit and soon find myself returning to the very habit I was trying to break. I understand the error of my action, realize the mistake, and what do I do? The very sin I thought about and considered the error of. Why? Why do I return to my sin? Why do we do what is wrong even though we’re aware of the error? But the more concerning question is, even though I make the same mistake over and over, can I still find forgiveness?

About 2000 years ago, Paul wrote a letter to the Romans that holds undeniable truth that is relevant still today. A letter that sparked a revolutionary fire in many souls through the message it shares. A Gospel message of conviction, redemption, and freedom. In the middle of this letter, Paul shares with us something I believe we all can relate to. Romans 7:14-15 says, “For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. 15 For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” Here, in this Scripture, Paul expresses his understanding of the very same issue I face.

We all struggle with sin. I mean, Paul, a well known apostle and example for the Christian faith confessed to this, which is proof that even the strongest heart faces times of weakness. The expectations of God lie within our Spiritual strength and persistence, but this world we live in and the bodies we’ve been given have been stolen by sin. The flesh in which we reside is a weak, disobedient, sin-tainted flesh. A flesh that is bound and destined to make mistakes.

So, now that we have an idea of why we continue life in sin, we need to consider the next question. Is there hope for us to hold on to?

I sure hope so, because if there isn’t, then I’ve got a lot to worry about! The beauty of the cross is the sacrifice made for my sins (and yours). The renewed grace, mercy, and love of God are given to us unconditionally. Well. There is one condition: That it is received. God knew that we would stumble and He knew that we would make mistakes. That’s the whole point of the death and resurrection of Christ. The fulfillment of a promise of hope and restoration. A works-based faith doesn’t work because our sinful nature makes it impossible for us to be “good enough,” and what a relief that is! Praise God that we don’t have to meet that requirement on our own, because I know my track record certainly speaks of my inability to. All we have to do is ask for and receive the forgiveness He has for us. The robes of Christ cover our sins. When we ask for forgiveness, we are no longer responsible for due judgement. The wrath of God was satisfied by the blood of Jesus, and, as Paul later mentions in Romans, “I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” NOTHING can EVER separate us from the work of Christ so long as we are willing to accept the free gift offered to us.

That covers two questions. Now that we are beginning to understand why we continue to sin and have reflected on the forgiveness always available to us, there is one more question to answer. How do I respond to all of this?

Despite the forgiveness we receive, sometimes we still hold on to a feeling of guilt, or maybe even God-given conviction. The consequences of our sins still remain. Lies can hurt and actions have consequences. How can we begin to heal if we have to face the result of our sin? Despite what you may feel, keeping it secret is not the answer. I am convinced that silence is a tool of the Enemy to keep us from true Spiritual healing. Silence is a fear-driven response. To find peace and joy, there is only one answer, especially when considering those sins which are exceptionally binding. To confess. James 5:16 says to us, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” Though it might be the most terrifying option, there has never been a time that I regretted bringing my sin to light. Every instance brought forth a response of love and acceptance, but more importantly, people who are willing to walk with me and carry me when it gets hard and when I stumble. Even if there is healing for our mistakes, should we live like they don’t matter? Again, we can look at Paul, in Romans 6:1-2, where he responds to this very question with, “By no means!” Instead, we should follow the direction of 2 Timothy 2:22 which tell us to, “Flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.”

So, don’t let yourself be discouraged by the struggles you face. There is forgiveness. Don’t let your sins be kept in secret. In confession is healing and unmatched peace, joy, and freedom through the prayer and support of those who love you. Break the chains that bind you through the strength of the Lord. Lean on those around you, and know that as I type this, I am praying for this message to reach into the depths of your heart and soul that you may find the abundant love of Christ and grow in ways you never thought possible.

Never Grow Weary – Galatians 6:9 Devotional

“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” – Galatians 6:9 (NLT)

How are you feeling after Spring Break?

Refreshed and ready to finish the semester strong? Or overwhelmed by assignments or just life in general?

For me, it’s honestly more of the latter. I had an awesome time working with inner city kids in Chicago over spring break, but am worn out. My birthday’s coming up soon and I always tend to lose focus around mid-March. Spring fever is real!

Maybe you feel the same way. When we get tired, we start questioning our purpose  and second-guessing our decisions.

Why should I keep going?

Does school really matter?

Will I ever get a job?

Am I really doing what God’s calling me to do?

And if I’m honest, living the Christian life is harder than school assignments and job worries. It’s a daily commitment to Christ and it’s so easy to question our relationship with God when we’re weary. It’s tempting to take the easy way out of situations.

That’s why I love Galatians 6:9. It encourages us to keep doing good, even if we don’t see immediate results. We will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.

As the passage suggests, doing good is a lot like planting. It takes a lot of work and there’s never an instant reward. There are times of drought, storms, and thorns that threaten the crops. This period of turmoil may cause people to ask why they bothered planting in the first place. But, if they don’t give up and keep tending to their plants, at harvest time, they will see the fruit of their labor.

The same is true with us. Our faith takes work. It’s hard to do the right thing and there will be times we get tempted, face storms, or mess up. But if we accept Jesus’s forgiveness and persevere, we will ultimately reap spiritual blessings.

It’s okay to be tired. It’s okay to have spring fever. But don’t give up.

Just remember that God is always with us and we never have to grow weary of doing good.