Norman Vincent Peale suggests reading Ezekiel 37 to reassure you that the spirit of God can revitalize every great thing.
May 31 is the 122nd anniversary of Norman Vincent Peale’s birth. Author, minister, and founder of Guideposts, Dr. Peale, is best known as the father of positive thinking. He continues to inspire and uplift new generations with his legacy of inspiration and optimism.
In everybody’s life, times come when it seems that everything goes wrong. Hopes and plans lie broken around you. The things you looked forward to achieving have failed. The spirit has gone out of you. And, in fact, life seems dead and desolate.
At such times, it will help to read the 37th chapter of Ezekiel. The prophet Ezekiel was taken out by the Lord and shown a wide valley that was full of dry bones stretching as far as he could see. Here a great multitude had perished and their white bones lay stark and desolate. Nothing could appear more hopeless than a valley of dry bones grim and silent.
But the Lord told Ezekiel to believe and affirm that, by God’s power, even these dry bones could live again. “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD!’” (verse 4).
The story dramatically tells what happened next: “There was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them” (verses 7-8). Life was renewed, and a great army of living men marched out of the valley of death.
When God’s spirit really comes upon us, the things that are harmonious with His spirit will live in us. Old dead things such as dead hopes, dead dreams, dead ideals, will take on a new vibrant quality. The dead bones of our lives will live again.
Those great hopes and dreams and ideals of yours are not dead—if you let God breathe into them the breath of fresh spiritual life. The spirit of God can revitalize every great thing. With God, life can always be vital, always dynamic. Life is renewable.
When you are worried confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid; what can man do to me?’ Hebrews 13:6
Fill your mind with thoughts of God; get in harmony with God’s will; exercise simple trust. Instead of thinking how difficult your problem is, think how great and powerful God is. When you do this, it releases spiritual power into your mind that will enable you to meet your situation—whatever it is.
Repeat this text whenever you are afraid: Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. Philippians 4:6
Nervousness is caused many times by insecurity, by self-doubt, by the frightening feeling that you must fight life’s battles alone. The following passages teach how to put a quieting hand upon our nervousness.
Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for him. Psalm 37:7
What peace and courage this great verse offers you! It reassures you that God will stand by to help and support and protect throughout your entire life.
And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7
Say this verse slowly, letting its melody and meaning fall softly into your thoughts. Take plenty of time to contemplate the vast peace of God, which is so deep and full and kind that we cannot comprehend it. Yet this peace floods into one’s life with such health-giving force that nervousness passes, leaving us calm and in control of ourselves.
The burdens and responsibilities of life sometimes rest heavily upon us and our strength seems insufficient. Too many demands make us weary and tired—and it’s not good to be tired, unless fatigue is balanced by a normal renewal of strength.
I will strengthen the weak. Ezekiel 34:16
Did you ever stop to consider where you get your energy? It comes from God. When that energy runs down and you feel weak and tired, you can go back to Him, and He who created your energy can recreate it.
Remember those other words from John 1:4: “in him was life.” He will give life to you if you ask Him and live according to His will. You can overcome weakness, and abnormal tiredness will no longer be a problem.
“Why do things go so wrong for me? Why do so many difficulties get in my way?" These are the complaints that lie at the bottom of that state of irritation and exasperation that we call frustration. For the healing of this condition, the following passages are helpful.
Many are the afflictions of the righteous; but the Lord delivers him out of them all. Psalm 34:19
Agree with God, and be at peace; thereby good will come to you. Job 22:21
Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. Psalm 37:5
Prayerfully decide what you want to accomplish. Then, put the matter in the hands of God, asking for guidance and help. Believe He is with you. You can expect results if you commit your way to the Lord, trust Him, work hard and do your part. You can have confidence that God will act and things will come out right, no matter how many difficulties may have frustrated you.
When you keep your heart from being troubled with anxiety or any other disturbing factor, your physical being will more completely respond to the healing care of your physician. Proclaim in you heart and mind that, “He who created my body is now help- ing it to function normally.” As you repeat this verse, visualize your body, mind and soul as entering into a state of harmonious health.
The prayer of faith will save the sick man. James 5:15
During your illness, prayer will attune your mind to God and permit His healing forces to operate in you. These forces are quietness of mind, creative hope, the joyful experience of the presence of Christ and the conviction that God’s restorative energy is within you. You will discover that the prayer of faith is one of the most powerful influences in getting your spirit into that state where God and the doctor can more effectively make you well.