TD Jakes — Bare Bones Ministry
God seems like he don't have know watch or nothing, no sense of time. He don't have a rhythm. I don't think he can dance 'cause when it was time to move, he didn't move. And then, when I decided that I don't care whether he moves or not, now here you come in the door, and now you're going to do something. Can these bones live again? Lord, thou knowest. I prophesied as I was commanded. I just obeyed your Word, whether I had the feelings or not. And the moment I obeyed your Word, suddenly there was a noise.
Hey everybody, I'm so excited to have this opportunity to share the Word of the Lord with you. I've got an exciting Word for you today. It's a fresh approach to a very familiar text, Ezekiel 37, you're familiar with the text, "Dry Bones in the Valley". You've heard it ever since them bones, them bones, them dry bones. It's that text right there. But this message is called "Bare Bones Ministry".
Have you been walking through an area of your life that have dried up your bones? We must learn to speak life to those bones, the residual. I'm not talking about what you lost. Your miracle is never what you lost. Your miracle is always in what you got left. So, strip down to bare bones. You still got something God can use. Check this out.
It was amazing to me when I read in the Word of God that Jesus, when he got baptized in the Jordan and John baptized him, and the Bible said, "Straightway when he came up out of the water, the heavens opened up and said, 'This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.'" And then the Holy Spirit descended like a dove and sat on him, and carried him out, not high, but low into the wilderness to be tempted.
Is it possible that the anointing can take you into a wilderness? Is it possible that the glory of God can take you into a dry place? Is it possible after flying so high that the same God that took you up to the mountaintops could bring you to the valley low? Is it possible that a God who is life itself could carry you down to the epitome of death?
Death that has stayed so long that the stench has gone. These are not wet bones. Wet bones would stink. These are bones who have been dead so long that the stench has left. Not just dry, very dry. How could I be this anointed and be surrounded with such death and dryness and decadence? How can I be so holy one moment and so human the next? I know the Lord used me. I prayed in tongues and got the interpretation, the whole church got blessed by the Word and all he said. He came out, laid hands on somebody, that they got healed. And then somebody jumped in front of me while I was driving home, and the same person... yeah, you just sit there. I'm going to get to you in a minute. I know you're trying to act like you don't understand the inequity of it all.
I must admit myself for myself, I hollered at a guy the other day. I was 5 minutes into a violent road rage moment before I remembered that God had ever called me to preach, and that I was a bishop, and the pastor at the Potter's House. And I was standing up, I had lost all consciousness. I couldn't think of any Scriptures or anything. I wasn't even trying to think of Scriptures. And then I came to myself and I thought, "Ah! Oh, praise the Lord". All I could do was pray that nobody had caught me on camera 'cause I knew if they caught me on camera, it was going to be on the 6 o'clock news because I did not rise up to minister to him.
After I heard what he called me, my first reaction, I went down into the valley, you know? I didn't go there to stay. A few more risings and settings of the sun and I was going to be on my way. I flipped out, completely forgot who I was. Inequities, extremities cohabitating in the same place.
And when the God who took you real high carries you into a situation that's very low and very dry, you wonder is he with you. Are you with me the same way you were with me up there? Are you with me down here in the valley of dry marriage, in the valley of dry family, relationship? Are you with me in the valley of a dry ministry? Are you with me in the valley of dry bills? My bones are bills, and they are very dry. But pastor preached prosperity. We shouted, we danced. I went home 2 weeks later and lost my job. How do I walk with you through the inequities of being on the mountain, the valley, the mountain, the valley, the mountain, the valley? You healed my brother, but my other one died. Is he a God who can walk with me while I walk through bones?
I want to talk to people who are walking through bones. Yeah, walking through dry places. After being in high places, now you're in a dry place. I want to talk to depressed Christians, Christians who wrestle with the depression and the anxiety. I want to talk to Christians who contemplated suicide. I want to talk about the valley, the real valleys of life. I want to talk about the subjects that don't come up in church, that it is possible to dance all over the church, and go home and can't breathe. The Bible says he walked me to and fro in and out amongst dry bones. I want to talk about walking through things that are not getting better. Is there anybody in here that has been walking through some things that are not getting better? You know what I'm saying?
And you think, you think, "Where's God"? Jesus will work it out, Jesus will work it out. If you let him, Jesus will..." You say, "I'm waiting, come on, work it, work it, work it. Work it, work it. Come on now, work it, work it, work it, work now. You going to work or not? Do you see these bones are still dry? We've been walking amongst these bones. You've been walking me in and out amongst these bones, and they're not getting a bit better. He's still crazy. We had a big revival, 175 people got saved, wasn't one of them the one I wanted". Dry bones, dry bones.
See, you think you're the only one that have these kind of issues. Everybody has life to deal with, everybody has struggles to deal with, everybody has issues to deal with, everybody has extremities, and polarities, and frustration, and aggravation. And the problem is I've been walking through these bones a long time, and they haven't gotten any better. And I'm walking through with Jesus, and they haven't gotten any better. And I walk through with the Word, and it didn't get no better. And I got me some consecrated oil, and I sprinkled it, and it didn't get any better. And I prophesied and I spoke, and I talked, and I danced, and I shouted, and finally I learned how to live with my bones.
Come on now, I learned how to live with my bones. Touch somebody, say, "I learned how to live with my bones". I developed a pathology that would accommodate the bones. I developed a coping mechanism that would accommodate the bones. In fact, it became natural to me to walk amongst bones. And then, once I finally got used to walking around boo boo bones and stuff, now he going to ask me, "Can these bones live again"? Why would you wake up my hope to something that has not changed? And there is a peace in giving up. There is a peace in giving up. There's a calmness in giving up. There is an escape that comes when you just accept your bones.
"These are my bones. I'm just going to be single the rest of my life. And now you come up winking at the car. Get on out of here. Where were you when I was believing for a husband? Now that I've cried my love to sleep, don't wake it up. Can these bones live again"? He said, "I don't know. I don't know whether they can live or not. And I don't know whether I want to try or not". And I don't know whether I want to fight or not 'cause I have made peace with my bones, and now you're going to start something.
Just when I decided that I was too old to have a child, now the Lord going to knock on Abraham's door and talk about, "Your wife's going to have a baby". You know, God seems like he don't have know watch or nothing. No sense of time, he don't have no rhythm. I don't think he can dance 'cause when it was time to move, he didn't move. And then when I decided that I don't care whether he moves or not, now here you come in the door, and now you're going to do something. Can these bones live again? Lord, thou knowest. And then God says to him, "Speak to your bones. Speak to your bones". You want me to speak to... me and the bones are not speaking. We're walking, but we're not speaking.
The hardest thing in the world to do is to get a man to talk when he stops speaking. And now God is saying, "Your bones won't get better if you don't speak". And I don't talk to bones. You know why I don't talk to bones? 'Cause bones don't talk to me. And it's hard to give to something that don't give to me. Good God of mercy.
How do you talk to someone and they saying nothing back? "You want to go out to eat? What are you going to wear to church next Sunday? I was wondering how you're feeling today". Who wants to talk to something that ain't saying nothing back? Who wants to talk to something that ain't saying nothing back? Who wants to love something that ain't loving you back? Who wants to care for something that ain't caring for you back? Who wants to commit to something that's not committing to you back?
"This ain't fair. You want me to talk to bones"? "I want you to speak to your bones, even though speaking to your bones makes you feel unequally yoked. Because you must remember that I was unequally yoked when I laid my hand on you. And if you're going to be like me, you have to give to something that can't give back to you".
This is not fair that you have left a speaker. This is a prophet. I speak for a living, and now you want me to speak to something where I get nothing back? This is not fair that you want me to talk to that bucket. It's not fair. Don't you see the bones, they're not just dry, they're very dry. I'm not just unhappily married, I hate coming home. And you want me to come in and start talking? I have survived by saying nothing. You want me to go talk to that very daughter that cussed? I'm her mama, she cussed me out. I'm not saying nothing.
You know now. It takes a lot of faith to talk to something that ain't talking to you, to give to something that's not giving to you, to serve something that's not serving you. It's easy to serve something that's serving you. Reciprocity makes relationships ring, but what do you do when it ain't fair? This ain't fair! Never mind the fact that it wasn't fair when he touched me. When his hand touched me, that wasn't fair either. But things that are not fair, just because something is not fair does not mean that it is not just.
There is a difference between fair and just. See, fair is reciprocity. Just is maturity. It's right if it's got to be right all by itself. That's the way God is. God is not fair, God is just. He is good if he's good by himself. He's holy if he's holy by himself. That's 'cause God knows who he is, and he has the courage to be himself when others are not. Do you?
Speak to the bones, that they may live. For God says, "Anything that you don't talk to will stay dead". All you have to do to kill anything living in your life is stop talking to it. And the thing that you are complaining about being dry and very dry in your life is dry because you shut up. The only way that thing will live is if you speak to it. That's why the devil got your lips sealed. 'Cause the devil knows that the power of life and death is in your tongue. And when you do speak to it, you speak negatively to it, you speak death to it, waiting on God to make it live. How can you make it live when you talk to it like that?
I was in Namibia, and we're in a room filled with businessmen, and this guy was trying to pitch, trying to get some sponsorship for his television, but he was so nasty in the request that I said, "Do you not know that people give money to people they like"? You can't talk death and reap life. Speak to the bones that they may live. They will not live because you're anointed. They will not live because I'm with you, I've been walking with you all the time. They will not live because you've been praying for it. You have to open your mouth and speak to it.
Peter and John can only heal the man when he spoke to him. "Silver and Gold have I none, but such as I have give I unto thee in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Rise up and walk". They spoke to his lameness. It's easy to speak to your wholeness, but can you speak to my lameness? Oh, I know you love my good stuff, but can you love my junk? It will never live if you don't speak to it. Speak to the bones so they may live.
And so, then Ezekiel confesses something that I love. It helps me so much because he doesn't say that he believes that they will live. He says, "Lord, thou knowest. I don't know whether this is ever getting any better or not. I do not know, but I am obedient enough that I prophesied as I was commanded". Wait, wait, wait. I didn't say what I felt. I said what you told me to say. Y'all didn't hear what I'm saying. I didn't say it 'cause I meant it. I didn't say it 'cause I had conviction. I said it because it was right to say. I prophesied as I was commanded. I just obeyed your Word, whether I had the feelings or not. And the moment I obeyed your word, suddenly there was a noise. Oh, hallelujah.
Ain't nothing going to change till you obey God. As long as you're bellyaching about what ain't fair, it ain't going to get no better. It's not fair, but it's just obeying God. Touch three people and talk about, "I hear noise". I hear noise in your valley. There's a noise. I feel some shaking in your bones. I prophesy shaking. I declare to you there's a shaking, there's a shaking in your bone. There's a shaking. Touch somebody, say, "My bones are shaking". The thing the devil said would never shake, God is shaking it up. The thing that I have learned to live with, God is shaking it up. The thing that I had given up hope would get any better, God is shaking it up. I dare you to give him 30 seconds of a crazy praise. I hear a noise. I feel shaking. Something's happening in your valley. Your spirit knows it, your belly knows it, your heart knows it. Somebody shout yes. How many people believe God's Word?
Now, listen, everyone has issues in life to deal with, we all do. But what do you do when you walk through things that are not getting better? I know you don't know what I'm talking about. Let me tell you, I've been there. The Bible says, "Don't give up. Trust and obey God. Your situation will change". You must begin to speak to your dry places and your dry bones rather than making peace with them and trying to live with them. They will never live unless you speak to them, and challenge them, and demand change in your life. There is a shaking that is about to take place. What you may have thought was dead, God is shaking it up. You need to prophesy till you hear the noise and feel the shaking of change on that job, with that child, in that marriage, with that house, with that mortgage, with that lump, with that tumor, whatever it is. It will change, will change, must change, it's got to change. That's what I'm talking about today.