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The Pinata - A Devotion

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Ezekiel 37:1-3 (NLT) The Lord took hold of me, and I was carried away by the Spirit of the Lord to a valley filled with bones. He led me all around among the bones that covered the valley floor. They were scattered everywhere across the ground and were completely dried out. Then he asked me, “Son of man, can these bones become living people again?” “O Sovereign Lord,” I replied, “you alone know the answer to that.” When my kids were younger, they loved Piñatas. Each birthday they would beg for the brightly colored hollow image or character filled with candy and treats to be hung up so they could take turns beating the thing with a stick until it broke open and its contents fell out to be attacked by screaming crazy people. It seemed like such a violent activity. What a tradition? Most people think piñatas originated in Mexico but actually they were discovered in China by Marco Polo. In China, they were used to celebrate the New Year. Each one filled with seed that would spill out when broken representing prosperity in the coming year and then the piñata burned the ashes shared for good luck. The custom was passed to Europe who used the piñata to celebrate Lent. It was in Italy that the name “pignatta” originated which means “fragile pot”. The activity made its way to Spain. This is when the tradition took on a whole new meaning. The piñata represented the “devil” and it was made bright and beautiful to lure innocent people into touching it. The contents represented the temptations of evil. The stick used to hit the piñata represented goodness to defeat the enemy and fight evil. The blindfold representing blind faith that crushes him. When the enemy was defeated, the reward was offered for all to share the charity of God’s Love. The message of the piñata was “all were justified through faith in God!” Who knew? It then made its way to Mexico and well, you know the rest of the story. There are days that I feel victorious as one might feel the moment the piñata is broken but to be quite honest there are many days that I feel like the piñata beaten and bruised under attack. It is in that moment that makes us wonder. We are overcomers in Jesus Christ. (John 16:33) So what aren’t we getting over things or making it through? We have been given the victory by faith in the Lord. (Romans 8:37) We are not just to win but have “overwhelming” victory in this lifetime. So why aren’t we winning anymore? What makes Christians some of the most disappointed, discouraged and defeated people who you will ever meet? The power had left the church and I want it back. I am tired of seeing others beaten up when they should be the clear winners in every situation. If it takes being broken to be refilled, then do it Lord! If it takes being emptied to be renewed, so be it! Whatever it takes to stop being the piñata and take hold of blind faith, make it happen in me Lord! The Lord took hold of me. In the account of Ezekiel, it really sounds like he had no choice as the Lord snatched him up to show him a few things kind of like when we are done with excuses and want our children to listen. Lovingly but firmly sometimes you just want to “snatch them up” and shake them real good to clear the cobwebs from their heads. Oh come on, I know that I am not the only one. Ezekiel was carried to a valley of dry bones. Now when Jesus takes me away the last place that I want to find myself is in a graveyard of bones much less a desert of the dried out remains of animals or humans. But sometimes we must go through such places to get the message that God has planned something much better for us and see the remains of what we have allowed to die in our life. These were not just dead remains. These were dry bones. All the substance was gone. All that was left was the framework of human beings. Without the muscles and flesh including a beating heart and living organs, these bones would lay right where they were being further baked in the scorching sun each day and picked apart by predators in the night. Do you feel dry today? Are you empty? Picked apart by predators called fear, doubt, worry and stress. Helpless to save yourself you bake in the drought of complacency and compromise wondering if you will ever be satisfied. The Lord asked Ezekiel, “Son, can these dry bones come to life? His response, “You alone know the answer to that.” Oh really, then why did the Lord ask Ezekiel can these bones come to life. Because today you have the power to change the course of your life, revive your spirit, renew your faith and restore your hope. It all begins with you. So what are you waiting for? Stop hanging there like a victim. It’s time to pick up that stick called “faith” and put the enemy on the run! Ezekiel 37:4-6 (NLT) Then he said to me, “Speak a prophetic message to these bones and say, ‘Dry bones, listen to the word of the Lord! 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.’” Speak a prophetic message to these bones! It is time to speak to the dried up faith and hardened heart that is keeping you in this season of drought. What did the Lord instruct Ezekiel to say, “Dry bones, listen to the Word of the Lord!” Do you know God’s Word for your life today? How much time to you send filling the “fragile pot” (2 Corinthians 4:7) of your life with living water (John 4:10)? Jesus promised anyone who was thirsty could come and drink then “living water” would flow out of them. (John 7:38) Most Christians spend little to no time studying the Word of God, memorizing scripture, meditating on its meaning much less doing what it says. When the enemy attacks, the only weapon that we have to defend ourselves is the Word of God. It is the fortification of the Sword of Faith. You will never be convinced of the Power of God without the Word of God. It is the weapon of the Holy Spirit when battling the enemy. When Jesus was in the wilderness and satan came to tempt the Lord, He did not whip out a sword and chop off his head (although I am sure that nothing would have made Jesus happier) but instead the Lord met every lie with the Truth. Nothing will dispel the lie of the enemy other than the Word of God. But it doesn’t become Truth in our life until we believe it. This is what the Sovereign Lord commanded of those dry bones through His Servant, “Look! I am going to put breath in you and make you live again…you will come to life…and you will know that I am the Lord.” Your faith in God is expressly for the purpose that you will live again, not only live but flourish and you will know (have confident hope) that He is the Lord. Without the Word, your Spirit is powerless. Wisdom is the wealth of those who take what they know and allow the Spirit to make it work in our lives. No wonder the Word of God says that His People perish for a lack of knowledge. Ignorant faith is not the same thing as blind faith. His Word is our opportunity to know the Lord and learn to trust Him more based on the revelation of Who He is and how much He loves us! It is time to call some “dry bones” back to life. Ezekiel 37:7-9 (NLT) So I spoke this message, just as he told me. Suddenly as I spoke, there was a rattling noise all across the valley. The bones of each body came together and attached themselves as complete skeletons. Then as I watched, muscles and flesh formed over the bones. Then skin formed to cover their bodies, but they still had no breath in them. Then he said to me, “Speak a prophetic message to the winds, son of man. Speak a prophetic message and say, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, O breath, from the four winds! Breathe into these dead bodies so they may live again.’” So Ezekiel spoke the Word of God, and nothing but a little rattling and shaking occurred. The bones came together and formed bodies but they remained lifeless on the ground. So now what? This is the problem with some churches and organizations who are based on religion. You can pursue righteousness through routine obedience but if you do not develop radical faith and confident hope in God you remain lifeless. You are made righteous by faith in Jesus Christ alone. (Romans 3:23-25) We were dead because of the sin penalty hanging over head. Hopeless because we failed the test of obedience banned from the Presence of God. But Jesus Christ retrieved the Keys to the Kingdom and set us free from bondage to sin. Are you living in such freedom today? Have you forsaken the natural to embrace the supernatural? Whom the Son sets free is free indeed. (John 8:36) But then it goes on to say that “where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom.” (2 Corinthians 3:17) So you see the Word alone will not work without the Spirit of the Lord that gives life to the lifeless framework of our life. (John 6:63) I have included many scripture references because the Spirit of God has been grossly misrepresented as something spooky and weird. But the Spirit is like the breath in our body, we are scarcely aware of it sometimes until it is gone. But once we understand its value, we work to preserve it. Hence lifestyle changes like diet and exercise. Some people quit smoking (good choice). Others work to make better choices to preserve not only their breath but the natural air that we breathe. If only we could become as conscious about the Spirit of the Lord inside of each believer. Just as bones structure the body, faith structures our spirit. Just as the air we breathe keeps us alive, His Spirit produces everlasting life. This is what the Sovereign Lord said to the lifeless bodies before Ezekiel, “Come, O breath, from the four winds! Breathe into these dead bodies so they may live again!” Do you want to become alive again? Are you looking to change the course of your life, revive your spirit, renew your faith and restore your hope? You must know the Word, you must be filled with the Spirit and you must do what each one says! Ezekiel 37:10-14 (NLT) So I spoke the message as he commanded me, and breath came into their bodies. They all came to life and stood up on their feet—a great army. Then he said to me, “Son of man, these bones represent the people of Israel. They are saying, ‘We have become old, dry bones—all hope is gone. Our nation is finished.’ Therefore, prophesy to them and say, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: O my people, I will open your graves of exile and cause you to rise again. Then I will bring you back to the land of Israel. When this happens, O my people, you will know that I am the Lord. I will put my Spirit in you, and you will live again and return home to your own land. Then you will know that I, the Lord, have spoken, and I have done what I said. Yes, the Lord has spoken!’” “Endure suffering along with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. Soldiers don’t get tied up in the affairs of civilian life, for then they cannot please the officer who enlisted them.They all came to life and stood up on their feet – a great army. We are called to be soldiers of Jesus Christ. He won the battle now we have the privilege to finish the war. It does not require fighting it just means that we must by faith with complete confidence that victory is ours putting all our faith and trust in Jesus Christ finish. We must cross the finish line. You cannot do this with dead faith and no hope. Righteousness allows us to have unwavering faith and confident hope that what Jesus said He will do and that His Promises are our inheritance. Stop whining and complaining about your life and change it. You have everything you need to do just that. The Lord did not speak to the bones. Ezekiel did. What did he say? The Words that the Lord had spoken to him. What gave them life? His Spirit did – the very same Spirit that lives inside of you just waiting to be released to change the outcomes of your life. Fill your life with the Word of God and be renewed by His Spirit and watch out. The Word of God will begin to shake some things up in your life. The Spirit will begin shifting and moving some things around to make room for more. When you finally decide to line up your body, mind and spirit with God’s Plan and Purpose for your life, dead dreams will come to life. Broken hearts will be mended to once again overflow with love. Repentance will open the door to His Presence. Your words will once again hold power rather than reveal your pain. You will no longer be beaten up by the enemy like a lifeless piñata hanging on a tree. You will stop taking unnecessary blows repeatedly as you begin to walk in victory. But know this today, God would not allow you to be broken if there was not something worth having on the inside of you. He put a measure of your faith in your heart to be released. (Romans 12:2) He has given you hope. (Ephesians 1:18) We are filled with His Spirit to press out such potential. (Romans 15:13) The God of Peace will crush the enemy under our feet (Romans 16:20) when we decide to quit laying down on the job and become great of army of faithful warriors who we are created and empowered to be by God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Swear your allegiance to Jesus Christ today! (Hebrews 13:14-16) This world is not your home or final destination so stop living like it. You are a Child of God. You have a priceless inheritance worth having by faith. You were created for Eternity and it is hidden in your heart. (Ecclesiastes 3:11) Sometimes we must be broken to rediscover our potential and live up to it. We will never know what is in our heart until it is broken. So there is purpose in the hard times of life as the Love of God becomes evident in His Fragile Vessels! Psalm 34:19-20 (NLT) The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time. For the Lord protects the bones of the righteous; not one of them is broken! Our family has faced many challenges over the past two or more years, and now we are faced with the sad reality that our son probably has cancer once again. This time in his hip “bone”. The Word of God says, “The Lord protects the bones of the righteous” so we are covered by faith with confident hope that this too shall pass to reveal His Glory once again in his young life. The Lord promises that none of our bones will be broken but it is up to us to keep from drying out and dying in the field. We must live by faith. We must know His Word. We must stir up His Spirit. With every breath, we must speak life into this world and every situation. Do not let the drought of disappointment, discouragement or defeat have any place in your heart or mind. It will dry you out. It will make you waste away. Faith in the Lord, His Word, His Will, His Way and His Spirit will promote and produce confident hope that is life. We are pressed but not crushed, persecuted not abandoned, struck down but never destroyed because we are blessed beyond any curse. Yes, His Promise will endure. His Joy will be your strength when you tell those “dry bones” to come to life! I will never look at a piñata the same way. It holds a message of hope that comes by faith and the reward that is to follow! Romans 1:17 (NLT) This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.”

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