Raised Like Lazarus: John 11:1-46

I found it quite smug of Jesus how He spoke to me this morning. I use a bunch of different Bibles and am all over the place in them. As I asked my daughter to go get my black Bible on the shelf, I opened to where it was book marked, which was John Chapter 11: The Death and Resurrection of Lazarus. It is as if God is reminding me even today to not forget the power of resurrection that He holds. Easter comes and goes, and we all get back into the routines of life, but God was quick to point out to me this morning, remember you death and the new life you have in me, be sure to keep it at the center of your life. Yes, crosses will come in our life, but the empty tomb is close by. When Mary and Martha both spoke with Jesus they were sad because it seemed to them as though Jesus was too slow in getting there, he could of prevented their brother’s death, but Jesus was about to prove them wrong. Isn’t it true in our own lives; we often asked God what is taking him so long when we are going through something hard, and it just seems like things are going from bad to worse, and we wonder if things will ever get better? Many times God makes us wait so our faith and trust will grow stronger; then when he does move, in his perfect time and in his perfect way, it is so mind-blowing to us that we can’t help but testify of what He did! Isn’t that what He wants, to have us give Him all the Glory of what He does in and through our lives so that others will believe!

Seeing how distraught Mary was in v.33, he goes to Lazarus’s tomb and also weeps for him, for he loved him. This really stood out to me, because Jesus weeps for all of us. He wants all of us to reach our full potential in life; not just worldly successes, but he wants us to reap a spiritual harvest for his kingdom. He gives us all spiritual gifts and He wants us to be participants in his great redeeming work, what a privilege! But in v. 37, some bystanders doubted, remembering how he opened the blind man’s eyes, and wondered why He could not save Lazarus,(so many today, have this same level of doubt, not fully understanding and believing in the power that God hold in their own lives); but Jesus speaking to Mary and reminds her in v. 40 “Did I not say to you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” Jesus then thanks his father for hearing his prayer and allowing him to display his power and glory so that they may believe that God sent him. Jesus then cries out in a loud voice “Lazarus, come forth”, Lazarus is quickly unbound and let go. At this, many believed, but some went to the Pharisees and told them the things which Jesus had done.

Jesus over and over in His Word reminds us that if we just have faith, we will see great things happen. Faith is a verb, it is an action, it takes practice, and it takes belief in how we see God, who we believe him to be and what we believe he is capable of doing. Do we believe he can do miracles today, or was that just in Bible times? I’m here to tell you that He still works mighty miracles today! He cries out to each of us in a loud voice as he did to Lazarus, “Come Forth”, it is a command; will you obey it? Will you believe? Will you go to God, as Jesus did, and pray for belief in the midst’s of your own circumstances? And then thanking him for what He can do! God wants to do get things in your life, He wants to show you His power and glory, but you must put your trust in Him, you must believe that he is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8).

There is probably more I could dissect in this passage, but I think this is enough for now. It has served for me a reminder of all that He has “raised” me out of in my own life, and how I look forward in my waiting of what He will do next, so that I can testify of his goodness. I pray that whoever reads this will be encouraged to spend some time with Jesus and pray for greater faith in who HeĀ is and what He can do. I pray that your faith will not only increase, but you will begin to see Jesus in a new way, that you will not just read about Jesus in the Bible, and the stories that surround him, but that you would enter into the Bible and it would become real to you, and that you will hear God speak to you through the Holy Spirit. Lord, may you have your way, may eyes and ears be opened, and may people come to know you in a more personal way than ever before. I know that you call them, and I believe for each one who reads this that you will do a mighty work in their lives so that they can too, testify of your great love. I pray this forth in Jesus’ name, Amen!

Resurrected To New Life!

EASTER. This day has now become my favorite day of the year! As I have walked many “miles’ on my journey of faith, I have overcome so much, my faith has grown, and my love for Jesus has run deeper than I could ever imagine. I never want to get over this; the remembrance of Good Friday, and the price he paid for our sins, taking our sins upon himself to give us life. As we wait on Saturday, there is silence, there is darkness, but this will not last; Sunday has come! Jesus has conquered death; he has shattered the darkness, and has been raised to new life. It is this new life that he offers all of us! It is this victory that we share with him! O Death where is your sting? It is gone! It is finished! Death could not hold him, the grave could not keep him, and He offers us this same life, not just someday in Heaven, but today in our lives; we are to also be resurrected to new life, to bring forth light that shatters the darkness of the world around us, to testify of his great love! Yes, we have to take up our own cross, we struggle in life and learn the beauty of surrendering our lives over to him. He is the only one who can take our broken mess and make something new, and He does. I use to be a person who was really insecure, who always worried about what others thought of me; wondering if I was ever good enough to belong; but as I struggled with these feelings, doubts and fears and continued to give them over to Jesus, little by little He would show me more of how much he loved me. He helped me to see who I am in Him. He helped me to see the price He paid. I now saw the cross more vivid than ever before. But he wasn’t done. He brought me out of my pit of insecurities, doubts and fears, and gave me new life. He set my feet upon a rock and told me how much he loved me. The darkness in my life has been shattered. I no longer care what others may think, because I know that as long as I am walking in the ways and will of God, that is enough, it’s all he asks of me, and now my significance is found in Christ alone. Death could not hold Jesus and neither could it hold me! I am now free to be all that Christ has made me. I am free to love and to serve; not out of obligation or duty, but out of an overflow of love, and gratitude of what Jesus has done for me!! I know who I am in Christ, and I know that in such a deep way that it is fleshed out in the life I live. It radiates from every part of me, wanting to do nothing out of selfish ambition, but out of love and gratitude to Jesus who has done such an amazing work in me. I am now able to love people where they are at on the journey, no longer getting anxious for their growth, but to pray them forth into all the growth that God wants to do in their lives. I can love and accept people knowing it’s only by the power of Jesus that can raise them to new life. It is a journey from the cross to the empty tomb for all of us. And even when we have victory, we are still continuing our journey onward. Oh Jesus, my heart is so overflowed in gratitude for all that you have done for me. I can’t thank you enough, I can’t seem to sing enough praises to you! Lord, may I never get over all that you have done for me, and may I never be ashamed of the gospel that gave me new life. Thank you Jesus for the cross and for the empty tomb may we all be your lights shining brightly for your kingdom. This is Easter; not only remembering the death and resurrection of Jesus, but the death and resurrection in each of our lives. What has God resurrected you out of? What is your new life story? How will you let that shine forth to shatter the darkness in this world? To bring hope to others? He came so that we could live; He came to give us life and life more abundant! It is for Today! Are you living in the Resurrection life that Jesus died to freely give? This is the Good News! This is what I want every Sunday to be for me!! I want Sunday to now be Resurrection Day! Every Sunday, I want to make sure that I celebrate all that I have overcome and am becoming in Christ, as I live out that new life all week long! Happy Easter, And May you truly live a new life in Christ!! Below I posted our churches Easter Service. There are two sections of it that I love the most; the one is after we show a clip of Jesus coming out of the tomb from “the passion of the Christ” at 29:30 there is an awesome song of VICTORY that we sang!!! We also did cardboard testimonies at point 1:01 in the video there is our “cardboard” testimonies that I was a part of. We all have testimonies that bring us out of the tomb into new life. Share yours, because He died so you could live and testify of his great love it is why we are here! God Bless You!

The Importance and Warnings of Tradition

Many of us just got done with the Easter celebration. No doubt some of our churches, depending on your denomination or lack there of hold to certain traditions that they deem important. We do this too in our families; we hold dear to strong rooted traditions of generations past which give us a sense of belonging and connection with another time. These can be a favorite recipe that we’ve grown to love from childhood, or a tradition of decorating the Christmas tree every year in a certain way. Traditions are so deeply rooted in all of us, and they can be good. But like anything held too strong, they can become dangerous and legalistic. There is a balance that we need to learn and understand in it all. When we look at God, he is a God of balance and order (read the creation account in Genesis Ch 1).

In the New Testament Jesus is seen consistently going against the grain of the Jewish traditions of his day; and in doing so, he is calling for a higher standard. He doesn’t come to abolish the law, (the traditions and order), but uses it to point out it’s legalism that we all succumb to. (Read Roman’s chapter 2). Again in Luke 11:37-39, Jesus warns the Pharisees who follow every rule of the outer law, but are unclean and hypocritical on the inside. We have this same problem today. We all have traditions that shape our thinking. What we need to do is to rightly acknowledge them, but then go one step further and learn the teachings of Jesus and how he dealt with people, their attitudes and traditions. As I mentioned, Jesus goes against the grain of the law to bring forth a deeper understanding of the character of God that he wants all his people to learn. It’s a way of love, of compassion, of acceptance. It’s not judging another just because you “see” things differently. God made us all unique and that is the beauty of life. I know I have had my struggles with this time and time again, but God is helping me to see clearer. As a seminary student (a student of The Good Book); I am constantly leaning to pray for humility. I know how easy it is for all of us to get big heads when we think we’ve learned something new. God is constantly reminding me that I am just a small part of his bigger purposes; and for most of us who live in a self-centered society that is a very hard pill to swallow. So I guess I say, traditions are good, but always be aware of how they are shaping you. Do they bring you closer to the thing of God, and his character and attributes? Or do they surface judgmental attitudes and “my way is the right way” type of thinking? May we constantly seek to surrender all of ourselves at the feet of Jesus and may we ask for him to point out and take away things that are not of him. (Psalm 134:23-24). May we live with a desire to truly reflect Jesus with our lives, driven by love, humility and service that is formed from a pure heart that is repentant and desires to do The will of The Father who has sent all of us to “go and make disciples”. I pray this spoke to you today and I pray it helps you to surrender on a new level to God. Be blessed and encouraged, and know that we’re all on this journey together. Robin.