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A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. Proverbs 17:22

It’s amazing to me how much power we have to affect the lives of others as well as ourselves. We think of God as being all-powerful and we as being weak human beings and, comparatively of course, that’s true. The all-knowing, all-loving, all-powerful God is no match for our frailty as human beings.

The other side of that coin is that we are made in the image of God. As such He has given us the tremendous power to choose. The most important choice we make everyday is whether to believe what God says about us or to believe what we and others say about us.

This battle has raged in our lives since conception! There is research to suggest that the tiniest of embryo senses the love of its mother. Then, from birth the formation begins in earnest. Our parents love and compassion, or anger and frustration tell us (often unintentionally) that we are good or bad, smart or stupid, and while most parents would never admit this, worthy or worthless.

We enter school and learn quickly whether we are part of the ‘in crowd’ or not. If we are we have worth, if not, then destiny will take its course and most likely we will spend our lives wishing we could be something we are not and overlooking the jewel that we are.

Solomon tells us a cheerful heart is medicine for a crushed spirit. A cheerful heart is a heart that knows who I am and knows that although I may fail, I am a child of God. I have worth. I am just exactly how He wants me.

For many of us our spirit was crushed years ago. The phrase ‘dries up the bones’ has the word picture of the very marrow of the bones being dried up. When our spirits are crushed we wither away from the inside until we are nothing but a shell. No one sees dried bones. They are covered by the skin, the mask we put on every day.

Dried bones so often can start with a single, well-placed word of condemnation by a parent, a friend or a spouse. Jesus says, “If you speak in anger against your brother you are guilty of murder”; James says that “If we never stumble in what we say we are perfect.” Paul says, “Let no unwholesome word come from your mouth;” and the list goes on.

How you feel about yourself and others is shown in the words you speak. How you feel about yourself is often determined by your reaction to their words. The best cure for dry bones, the healing salve for a crushed spirit is Jesus. Don’t listen to the voices that have so long told you that you can’t, or won’t succeed. Stop believing the lies that have been impaled on your heart for so long.

You are God’s greatest creation. Jesus died for you because He loves you. Now that He sees how you turned out…He’d do it again. Listen to the heart of God concerning you. Today make the choice to believe what He says about you. Let the healing salve of His love soothe your crushed spirit and bring life to your dry bones.

PRAYER: Father, I’m brought to tears when I think about the lies I’ve listened to all these years. I’m ashamed of the times I’ve probably been responsible for crushing a few spirits of those I love as well. In Jesus name I ask that you would forgive me for the damage I’ve done and heal the damage others have inflicted on me. By the power of Your Spirit I’m resolved, starting today, to live in the awareness of Your love and presence in every aspect of my life. Amen.

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