04-18-2019 Letters and Commentary

Life restored It was a hopeless scene. As far as you could see there were dead bones covering the ground. Dry, unattached skulls and bones scattered everywhere. The prophet Ezekiel had been brought here so God could ask him a question and then give him a surprising answer. A recent documentary about the Pharaohs of Egypt showed an ancient cave being opened. It had been used as a warriors’ tomb. Their body parts were everywhere. The archeologist couldn’t help walking on them. At one gruesome point she managed to match up a couple of feet that seemed to go together. There was no matching up of anything in Ezekiel’s valley of dry bones! God asked Ezekiel the question, “Can these bones live again?” The obvious answer was, “Not a chance,” but Ezekiel was more careful. He replied, “O Lord God, you know.” (Ezekiel 37:4 NKJV) Humanly speaking there could be no hope, but perhaps Ezekiel was remembering that with God (as Moses had learned years before) nothing is impossible. God told Ezekiel to “prophecy” or “declare,” to these dead bones first that they would hear the word of the Lord and then that they would live again, with new life (“breath” restored), and with sinews and skin renewed. The bones began to rattle against each other as all over the valley they scooted and twisted on their own to reconnect. Sinews grew on each body and new skin appeared! Finally the winds came at Ezekiel’s bidding. God’s breath reentered the reconstructed bodies, and they came to life (“a mighty army”)! Ezekiel’s vision gave assurance for Israel’s national resurrection by God’s power and by His Spirit. He would do this! Our personal resurrection will also be by God’s power and by His Spirit. Jesus’ resurrection that first Easter morning gives assurance that those who believe in Him will also rise. He will do this! (See 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)

See what you can do online during National Social Security Month – part two In April, we celebrate National Social Security Month by letting you know what you can do online with a “my Social Security” account. Last month we featured how you can replace a lost or stolen Social Security card, get a copy of your 1099 (SSA-1099), and check the status of your Social Security benefit application or claim. This month we share three more advantages. If you already receive Social Security benefits (retirement, survivors or disability) and you have a bank account, you can start or update your direct deposit information online by using the My Profile Tab in your personal “my Social Security” account. In most cases, you are required to receive federal benefits electronically, so when you choose direct deposit, we will electronically deposit your funds directly into a bank account. Do you receive Social Security benefits (retirement, survivors, or disability) or are you enrolled in Medicare and getting ready to move? If yes, you can easily change your address online in your personal “my Social Security” account. Finally, if you need a benefit verification letter – often called a budget letter, a benefits letter, a proof of income letter or a proof of award letter – you can instantly access this letter online in your personal “my Social Security” account. If you do not already have an account, the first thing you need to do is create one at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount. Please know that securing your identity and personal information is important to us. We protect your information by using strict identity verification and security features. The application process has built-in features to detect fraud and confirm your identity. Share with friends and family what you can do online with a “my Social Security” account at www.socialsecurity.gov. Vonda VanTil is the Public Affairs Specialist for West Michigan. You can write her c/o Social Security Administration, 3045 Knapp NE, Grand Rapids MI 49525 or via email at vonda.vantil@ssa.gov.