Principle of Life

Principle of Life

Luke 24:5-7 (NLT)The women were terrified and bowed with their faces to the ground. Then the men asked, “Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive? He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Remember what he told you back in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, and that he would rise again on the third day.”

Waking up to the smell of field peas cooking in the crock pot, I remember what today is. I need to get up as there are a few extra things to do before heading out to church. As I hesitate, my husband whispers in the dark as if not to chase it away, “Happy Easter!” I love this day. It has become my favorite of all days. A day to celebrate life and all the opportunities released the day it was clear that Jesus was no longer in the grave. He was alive. He is alive. The Living Christ lives in me. Works through me. Changes me. Challenges me. Pushes me. Presses me. Everyday strengthens me delivering mercy in the morning and more grace throughout the day. I am promised His Power because He is omnipotent. Death could not hold Him. The one thing that is feared the most by all humanity had absolutely no control over our Lord and Savior who is life.

People struggle with the concept of the Risen Christ. The Christ who exists on paper and in theory must be encountered to exist in us, impact our life and change us. It is one thing to say, “I believe in Jesus Christ” yet quite another to make this our principle of life. Ray Dalio, a hugely successful investor and founder of Bridgewater Associates who is one of the world’s largest hedge funds, said, “Principles are what allow you to live a life consistent with those values. Principles connect your values to your actions.” A principle is the fundamental truth from which all others are derived. An applied principle is to take that truth or belief and base all other attitudes and actions upon it. It is our accepted rule of conduct. Do you live like Jesus is alive? Do you truly believe that His Life influences your existence? Will today be the day that you do?

John 1:1-4, 14 (NLT) In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with God. God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him. The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone.

So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.  

Jesus is the creative power behind every living thing. He is the Word of God which once released must do exactly what He promised it would do. It cannot return void. It is impossible. When God breathed life into Adam – Jesus was that one breath that perpetuated all life. Think about that for a moment. Jesus is life. He is the essence of life from God that enables us and empowers us to live up to the Glorious Standard set for us that people abandoned for sin. His Blood is the life giving power that washes us clean and allows us to apprehend such a life again. The Word of God wrapped himself in flesh to come demonstrate love for all people so that it would be vividly clear that God loves us and desires us above all things. Even with a Living Color Lord, they did not believe Him. Don’t beat yourself up. The men and women who walked with Jesus did not get it either.

The women were coming to the tomb that day to give Jesus a proper burial. They did not expect to find life but finalize His Death. They called Him the Messiah but did not believe it to be so. They expected to find Jesus trapped in a tomb, but that’s not at all what happened that day. Jesus was alive. They ran to tell the others and still no one really believed. The enemy had already begun to perpetuate lies and accusations. The body was stolen. He did not come back from the dead but was hidden by his followers. The enemy always tries to hide the truth with a lie.

John 10:9-10 (NLT) Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures. The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” (John 3:16-18) Jesus came to give us a rich and satisfying life. In the New King James Version, it is called an abundant life. For God so loved the world that He gave His Son so that whoever believes will have everlasting, eternal and forever life. Often this is projected forward and put into a futuristic setting. Jesus did not come to judge people. He did not come to condemn them, but that through Him that they would live. Live now. Live tomorrow. Life this life. Life forever. It is all about believing. It has nothing to do with one’s ability to change their life, make better choices or even do good things. It is all about what you believe and our ability to live that belief. The principle of life for the believer begins with the empty tomb and continues from that point throughout all eternity. If just for today, as we celebrate Easter and honor the Resurrection of Christ, we could for a moment inspect our life.

John 11:21-27 (NLT) “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”

Lazarus was dead. Jesus appeared to be delayed and upon His Arrival everyone was in mourning. Martha met the Lord and said, “If you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Then she went on to say, “I know that even now Go will give you whatever you ask.” Martha was conflicted. Her heart and mind at odds. She said that she believed and oh how she wanted to believe but she struggled with disbelief just the same. Jesus told her, “I am the Resurrection and the Life.” He is saying the exact same thing to us today. The same Jesus that came barreling out of the tomb, visited many people, and ascended into Heaven is alive and well today. He is still the Resurrection and Life. The same person who called Lazarus to come up out of his grave and he did. This is the Jesus who lives in you and me today. We have the power to see dead dreams come to life and the Glory of God to fill our life. But just like Martha, we struggle to truly believe.

Romans 8:10-11 (NLT)  And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God. The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.

What if it is true? What is Jesus Christ really is alive in us? What if His Spirit is trying to give us new life every single day? What if grace really is enough to release God’s Power, His Resurrection and Life-Giving Power, to every single dead thing? What if it is my unwillingness or inability to believe that is holding the doors and windows of blessing shut? What if it is my stubborn foot standing over the seeds of faith attempting to produce good things and harvests in my life? What if my words are poisoning the good fruit that His Spirit is attempting to grow in me? What if I am aborting the birthing of my promises? What if it is me? Today changes everything!

I challenge you as the Lord challenges me today – if you are headed to church, just got home, running late or not doing anything at all but hunting some eggs with the kids and spending time with your family – look for Him today. Not the dead Savior hanging on a Cross, but the Powerful Lord who came alive with the keys to every locked door in your life, heart and mind. Jesus is alive and well. The Living Savior ready to break every chain, release your burden, heal your body and release every other forgotten benefit that marks the new life that He promised. His Promise still stands. God’s love for you cannot be taken or shaken from you. He loves you! He always loved you! He paid the highest price for you – not to make you a performer but a producer of His Love. Your dead dreams are only sleeping. Your potential is not lost just hidden in the soil of your heart. Once fertile, it will explode with life again. Every blessing and promise for your life is safe and sound. Your inheritance is secure. It is your heart that Jesus is after. Do you believe? It is impossible to please God without faith. Faith makes all things possible…we must only believe. Jesus is the principle of life. He is life. He gives life and power to those who love and trust Him. Apply this principle to your life and you will live in peaceful prosperity both now and forevermore. Living for Jesus Christ should be a satisfying life not filled with disappointment. Hope never leads to such a thing. If my life is less than I expected, then I need to let Christ increase in me. He promised to do more than I can think, imagine or even ask. This is the principle of life to be satisfied. To apply Jesus Christ who is alive and well in all areas of my life. Christ is the One who completes this process in us. He gives new life. We become new creations.

John 14:6 (NLT) Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.

Is Jesus Alive?

Is Jesus Alive

2 Corinthians 5:17-20 (NIV)

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.

 

This morning many children will awaken to find baskets filled with chocolate bunnies and jelly beans. Before getting ready for church, they will hunt plastic eggs hidden around the house. There are even some who will marvel at little powder paw prints left by the mysterious rabbit. No different from Christmas and Santa Clause, parents continue the legend and myth to bless their children and fill their childhood with memories. I am not anti-fun. So please do not get me wrong, but I have always struggled with the idea of these two images with my children.

 

Several years ago, it was a rare occasion when my husband and I were along with our youngest child who at that time was around six or seven. It was a hot summer day and we had decided to take her to lunch spending some time with just her. Sitting in the backseat looking out the window in clear contemplation, she suddenly asked, “Mom, if I ask you a question will you tell me the truth.” I immediately assured her that I would. She then asked, “Mom, is Santa Claus real?” Silence. Now I know to some moms and dads this would be a devastating question, those who thrive on this age old tradition. My husband looked at me as if to say, “What now?” I said, “You know once you know the truth, you cannot ever go back to believing anything else, right?” “So he’s not real,” she countered. “No, he’s not.” Several long moments went by, “You know that Jesus is real right?” I asked her. See this has been my concern all along with the concepts of unreal figures making fiction factual. Harmless fun that might impact her ability to believe in the unseen. I know, I am weird about that. She immediately and confidently replied, “Of course, Jesus is real!” Relief flooded my heart and soul in that moment.

 

Today we celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is truly the greatest day in history even exceeding His Birth and Crucifixion because the moment He left the tomb – all things became possible to those who believe. I ask you today, “Is Jesus real? Do you believe that He is alive? Does He live in you?” These are important questions. Many people will set their alarms giving up their usual Sunday morning routine to go to church – one of only a few that they will ever attend. Some will even walk down to an altar and surrender their life to Christ for the first, second, third, fourth or a hundredth time. But without faith, confidence and certainty in the questions above, it will mean nothing. Truth can impact our life only if we believe.

 

What you believe impacts your life? No matter what it is, the nugget of truth we accept creates ripples in the mind like a stone cast onto a lake interrupting the surface and changing its movement. If anyone be in Christ, he is a new creation. A new life begins. A new person begins a process of molding and shaping into the Image of God through Jesus, His Son. New life. Resurrection life requires death of the man or woman who existed before because now our life operates under a new Truth. A new plan. A new identity. As we become reconciled to God, our life takes on new meaning and with that a new message comes forth. We become Ambassadors of Christ who is an authorized messenger and representative of the Living God. So in order to answer the question, “Is Christ alive?” Historically, yes. There is natural and scientific evidence that the tomb was empty. But where did He go? He released His Spirit to live inside of us. Now all things are possible to those who believe.

 

2 Corinthians 3:17-18 (NIV)

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

 

When the Spirit of the Living God, Jesus Christ makes a holy inhabitation of our life. It changes us from the inside out. Faith is the conduit of change. Faith is our confidence and trust in a person or thing that is not based on proof. Do you see my dilemma with the mythical images for our children? Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom to live by three things that are constant: faith, hope and love. We have all three of these ideas in us as God has placed Eternity in our heart. Salvation in Spirit and Truth granted us by Jesus allows us to be transformed by His Glory within us to who we were created to be not who we have become. It makes the impossible possible for those who believe. What do you believe today?

 

Hebrews 6:4-7 (NIV)

It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age and who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace. Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God.

 

I can remember landmark images of places and times that I know that God came close to me. When I was eleven years old and felt Him draw me to an altar. I mumbled a prayer with a pastor who honestly all that I can remember are not his words but that he had really bad breath. I remember screenshots of time when I would say or do something knowing it was not me but only later realizing it was the Holy Spirit working on my behalf. I remember giving my heart to Jesus as a teenager and trying really hard to live a godly life just like our youth pastor told us to. I tried to do everything he said so that I could have a right relationship with God. This religious worship held me until my early twenties and then back in the wilderness I wandered. Like got really messy and the message of God’s Perfect, Strict Plan now was barred by the flawed and errant person I had become. I missed it. I could never had that kind of right relationship and must settle for the crumbs of repentance left behind by the perfect. Wrong again. When I met my husband, we both had drifted far but when we met something changed. Though difficult to discern, there was a desire for the Lord deep within us that quickly connected making us inseparable so we married within about six months. We began pursuing the Lord from that moment on. I remember the night that it all came together laying before the Lord at the Altar. There would be no turning back. Would I sin again? Yes. Would I fail at faith again? Yes, miserably. Did God still want me? Absolutely. Is Jesus alive? Yes, He met me right there and I was filled with His Spirit and Life-Giving Power that moment. Things have never been the same. They will never be the same.

 

See once you are “enlightened” and the Light of God’s Love fills you, you can’t go back. I cannot explain it but even in our wanderings – He is there. He never leaves us or forsakes us even when we do not want Him. As many head to church today, the empty tomb is still barren and Jesus stands in all His Glory before us. He says, “Can I come in?” He is wondering if today will be the day that you will allow Him to come in and renew you. He wants to restore you today. He wants to bring dead things to life. He wants to make every impossible thing possible. We must only believe that God has raised Him from the dead and invite Him into our life. Is Jesus alive? Yes. Does He live in you? I have no idea. I know only that He lives in me.

 

John 14:10-12 (NIV)

Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.

 

Our little girl, the baby in our family, thrives on truth. She cannot operate without it. She googles everything she does not know in an attempt to end her ignorance. It is really difficult to get one by on her. She requires brutal honesty. She loves Jesus. I know she does because of her innate nature that desires truth in all things. As we celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus, I am compelled to examine my own heart and mind for faith. Jesus told His disciples that “whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even great things than these.” If my life is not a complete spectacle of God’s Works including signs, miracles, wonders, unnatural grace and ridiculous love – there is more room for Christ in my heart today. Apart from Christ I can do nothing so the barren areas represent room to grow. (John 15:4-5) The Holy Spirit produces spiritual fruit that should be evidence in my life that Christ dwells in me. (Galatians 5:22-25) I should walk in step with God’s Spirit. I cannot base the fullness of Christ in me on the religious condition of my life. Traditions can make us do all the right things and still miss the mark. Anything I can do does not require faith, therefore it is manmade. The Word of God is often twisting just as the message in the childhood game called “Telephone” as people take the Word and put a softer more gentle spin on it to accommodate the compromises and sin in their own life which others adopt as the doctrine for their life. Do you see the problem? (I John 4:1-3)

 

The Fruit of God’s Spirit in our life can only be produced by His Spirit. Without the Truth of God’s Word planted deeply in a heart filled by His Spirit it will produce nothing of worth just weeds. God searches our heart looking for His Spirit. (Jeremiah 17:10) He allows us to know the contents in our words and deeds. (Luke 6:45) What is our message? It must be no less than to confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in our heart. (Romans 10:9) This is salvation. This is the beginning of life. This is evidence that Christ is alive in us.

 

2 Corinthians 13:4-6 (NIV)

For to be sure, he was crucified in weakness, yet he lives by God’s power. Likewise, we are weak in him, yet by God’s power we will live with him in our dealing with you. Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test? And I trust that you will discover that we have not failed the test.

 

To reconcile our life to Jesus today requires that I compare the evidence in my life, heart and mind to God’s Truth and yield to His Spirit for confirmation. Faith is the evidence that I believe. Once we discover the Light of God’s Love and experience His Grace in person, there is no going back. Not because He grabs us violently but because He holds us so tenderly. His Love makes us want to love Him back when we allow the Lord to enter an intimate relationship with us. He will not force His Love on us for that would not be love at all. His Spirit sets us free from sin and begins to produce those things in us that God desires. The fruit that He longs to consume. Jesus wants to reveal Himself to us. He longs to let His Love change us from the inside out. He went to the Cross thinking only of us and came out of the tomb pursuing us. His Love drives Him to possess us. By faith we discover this love, in that moment every impossible thing becomes possible. Imagine. I have been married for many years. God blessed us in our partnership. My husband instills in me things that apart from him I would never have discovered about myself. He builds my confidence. He has taught me to trust. If that much can come from an imperfect relationship, imagine entering into a relationship with a perfect Lover who teaches us to love perfectly, too. The Lord longs to set you free today. He doesn’t want to change the way you act just what you believe. In doing so, an impossible life becomes one filled with miracles, signs, wonders, fulfillment and completion. Is Jesus alive? Yes. You will determine if He lives in you!

I choose today and every day to let Him live in me. Even today, I ask the Lord to examine me and see if there is any more room to bring the dead to life.

 

Psalm26:2-3 (NIV)

Test me, Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind; for I have always been mindful of your unfailing love and have lived in reliance on your faithfulness.

While We Wait

While We Wait 2

John 14:1-4 (NIV)

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God[a]; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”

 

Jesus warned them. He told His disciples directly that He would go to prepare a place for them. I don’t think they were listening to the content of His Words but perhaps thinking it just another parable continued to mull over their meal. It would be their last supper together. The next several days would shake them to their core. They all had expectations but did not one consider that Jesus would soon be dead in a tomb. My thoughts turned to the wait from the day Jesus died until Resurrection Day when everything that died with Him that day came surging back to life. The morning after if you will. Was there regret? Were they afraid? Some dazed and confused not sure what to do, where to go how to live without the Lord with them. Many of the men went back to work casting their nets without much success. They were lost without the Lord. Oh, how I remember that feeling.

 

“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”  (I Corinthians 10:13) Temptation is not always what we think. To tempt means to entice or allure to do something often regarded as unwise, wrong or even immoral. It is to attract, appeal strongly or to invite. It also means to try or test. No temptation has overtaken us expect what is common to mankind. We are not only tempted to sin, but give up, walk away and let go. These in and of themselves are not lethal transgressions unless it is our faith which is the subject. When Jesus died, it tested the resolve of every believer. Would they wait on the Lord for His Word to come to pass? Our greatest testing is not sin. Sin causes consequences so often we let it go rather with natural understanding. However, when it comes to our faith a benefit seldom seen only experienced in our soul – it is different. Considering this, as the followers of Jesus waited and watched those three long days many would give in to the temptation to step back into normal life and live as though He never lived. But then there were those who decided to wait on the Lord!

 

What are you waiting for today? Is there a promise you have yet to collect? Is there a dream is slowly dying? It matters how we wait. Temptation comes in the moment that the clock starts ticking. When the Lord falls quiet, to see what we will do. He is there. He is working out all the details for our good. What are we doing to respond to His Promise? Are we willing to wait? Are we productive in our wait time? How long will we stay here? Will we wait until we are called?

 

Matthew 25:4-10 (NIV)

The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. “At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ “Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’ “‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’ “But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.

 

Faith is the currency with which hope is obtained. You will never receive what you hope for without the proper amount of faith. Faith is procured in the waiting periods of life when forced to examine what we believe and if there is real substance to it. Faith must be tested by fire to prove genuine. The Parable of the Ten Virgins paints a clear picture of the period of life that we live in.

 

Jesus is coming. No really, He went to prepare a place for us. In His Word are signs and markers with which to evaluate the time of His Return. Though it does not pinpoint the moment exactly for no one truly knows, there is prophecy fulfilled daily as the time draws near. Jesus fulfilled every single Old Testament prophecy before He surrendered His Life and released His Spirit on the Cross. Every New Testament prophecy will come to pass and He will return just like He promised. Are we waiting and watching for His Return? Are we preparing for that day?

 

Each virgin had a lamp but not all of them brought the oil to fuel it and keep it burning. We all have the potential to be saved but not will wait and watch for the Lord. Some will bring the lamp with no oil. Some will rush out in the final moments to try to find the oil they need and will miss it. Could it be that the oil in this story refers to our faith? The thing that keeps us watching and waiting for the Lord and His Word when everyone else might give up or give in to the temptation to leave their post? It matters how we wait on the Lord. We must watch and wait being fully prepared each moment of every day for His Return.

 

Psalm 27:14 (NIV) Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.

 

Habakkuk and I have had many encounters over the last several years. When I discovered the reality that God still speaks to His people even today, I began listening for His Voice each day. This blog is part of that journey. But hearing the Voice of God, understanding what He is telling us, and doing exactly what He says can be challenging to my very human and overriding flesh. Many times, I have taken the Word of God to heart without using His Word to fully understand or His Spirit to fully instruct. When the Lord speaks to us, it is important to apply these two valuable resources before taking a single step.

 

Habakkuk 2:1 says “I will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts; I will look to see what he will say to me, and what answer I am to give to this complaint.” I have been guilty of many starts and few completions in life simply because I am impatient. I cannot wait to see the finished product or real the goal. I lose interest. Give up. Just do not follow through. We ask the Lord daily for things in life. We register our complaints regularly. If God does not immediately answer and gratify our flesh, most people decide to do it themselves rather than wait on the Lord.

 

Habakkuk 2:2-3 is the Lord’s reply, “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it. For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.” So here are a few tidbits that tell us that waiting is part of God’s Process in everyone’s life. The Lord tells the prophet to write down the “revelation”. A revelation is something revealed but not yet realized. Faith is the requirement to full realization. Make it plain so the “herald” will run with it. When we pray in the Name of Jesus, the Lord releases a command in Heaven. We learned this in Daniel 9:23. The herald is a forerunner. I believe this may refer to heavenly ambassadors sent forth at God’s command to complete the pathway for our success. It is not for us to run with it. The herald runs with it while we wait. Finally, it speaks to the end, God’s completed work and total fulfillment in Jesus Christ – God’s Word for my life is seldom a “right now” thing because without faith I am nothing, can do nothing, and will never be able to please God. Though it linger, WAIT FOR IT. I have prayed for things but never patience. In the acquisition of those blessings, the Lord has given me some in the process.

 

I hate to wait. I was very bad at it. Impulsive and impatient – if God didn’t move fast enough, I would move for Him. Bad idea. It would take a circumstance completely out of my control and totally reliant on God’s Intervention to make me willing to wait on the Lord. What about you? Until we are after is invaluable and important to the extent we cannot live without it, most people will not give the Lord time to complete His Work. That was me. That was then. This is now.

 

Lamentations 3:22-26 (NIV)

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.

 

I love this passage. Verses tucked in the book of Lamentations. The word “lament” means to feel or express sorrow, regret or grief. How ironic that in the midst of one’s complaints they find the Source of Life. The followers of Jesus woke up to the darkest day. They did not realize that it would end in the dusk before dawn. The moment that would change everything for them and every other believer who called on the Name of the Lord. What was their final conviction? Was it this “The Lord is my portion. Therefore I will wait for Him”? Did they still believe that the Lord is good in the midst of persecution and possible death? While they hid in their homes and tried to gather a mustard seed of faith to face the next day, did they still hope?

 

What are you waiting for today? What is in the tomb with Jesus? Will you wait for dawn when the Resurrection Power of God surges and life returns? Faith restored? Hope regained? Will you wait for it? It matters how we wait. We must be expectant in God alone. (Psalm 5:3) Enough to wait for His Answer anticipating a response knowing that He will reply. We must trust the Lord enough not to be overtaken with fear, doubt and anxiety but joy and praise as we wait confidently for His Arrival. (Psalm 33:20-21) We must be still remaining where we are and doing what we have been instructed to do until He clearly and distinctly tells us to move. (Psalm 37:7) No longer paralyzed by fear but provoked by faith. We must be obedient to God when we wait unrelenting until He comes. The enemy offers retreat and rebellion to eliminate the pain and pressure of waiting. We say, “No thank you – we will wait on the Lord.” (Psalm 119:165-167) We must wait with “our whole being” including mind, soul and body. All must agree with God’s Word and Revelation continuing together in unity. Our thoughts, desires and longings must line with the Will of God never giving in to emotions or lacking willpower to stay true to our first love. (Psalm 130:5-6) We must wait without judgment but full of love, joy and peace. We must live in love with Jesus so we can love others rather than judging them. Comparison is deadly when we look at others evaluating our position and promises from a lateral perspective. God’s Plan for each one of us is individual. He does not consider or compare to another person. The Lord is intimate and direct with every living breathing creature that He has created. My life, God’s Plan and Purpose may intertwine with others but is not dictated in any way by their choices. (I Corinthians 4:4-5) As a farmer sows seeds with expectation and hope, he does not know what the season will bring naturally or each one will produce provisionally so he waits. We must wait together. (James 5:7-9) It matters how we wait.

 

Jude 20-25 (NIV)

 But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. Be merciful to those who doubt; save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh. To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy—to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.

 

Today as I reflect on the day before the Resurrection of our Lord, I must evaluate if I am waiting and watching for His Return. Just as the disciples waited and watched, believing and hoping that this was not the end but beginning, we must do the same. Are we ready? Are we prepared for the return of Christ? I really don’t think judging strictly by the fruit in this life. The church seems weak and powerless. Yet, there is a cry rising up though faint it is getting louder. Revival is that word. People are praying for the next great move of God but as Steven Furtick of Elevation Church says, “We cannot wait for the next move of God. We are the move of God.” I must decide if I am waiting for this life to get better or determined for Heaven to touch the earth. Until we begin to wait on the Lord, watch for Him, cry out for Him alone and settle for nothing less, we will remain in hiding. Without faith, hope, obedience and faithfulness that is really what waiting is for the believer, it is a hiding place. I must wait expectantly on the Lord waiting as though it were a matter of life and death because it really is. It matters how we wait. I will wait upon the Lord. Watch for His Coming. Anticipate His Arrival. With all that I am seek to see His Face. Will you?

 

Revelation 3:10-12 (NIV)

 Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth. I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. The one who is victorious I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will they leave it. I will write on them the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on them my new name.

The Moment that Changed Everything

The Moment that Changed Everything

John 19:30 (NIV)

When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

 

Can you hear it? Do you feel the earth moving beneath you? It makes my heart beat wildly and the hair rise on the back of my neck. It’s Good Friday. That means that it’s almost here. Just a little while longer. I haven’t always felt this way about Easter. When I was a little girl, my grandmother insisted on sewing my sister and me matching dresses with cute little bonnets. The trouble was that my sister and I are seven years a part in age, so while she looked adorable at four or five, I looked ridiculous at that age. I remember brightly colored baskets filled with plastic eggs, a big chocolate bunny and other little trinkets. I can smell the ham roasting and taste the rainbow deviled egg that was made from the eggs once colored. I had no idea as a child what I know now as an adult. Easter is the greatest day in history. It was the day everything changed for me. My past, present and future all wrapped up in a single moment of time. It began on Good Friday on an old rugged cross. My Savior, my Lord, and my God hanging there on the brink of death. Bearing every sin, shame, burden and sickness, Jesus fulfilled every single line of the law for me since I had fallen short. He made sure that every weakness was sufficiently covered by His Grace. He took stripes to ensure that sickness and disease would not live in my body. The Lord allowed a crown of thorns to be pressed deep into His Precious Brow not bloody and swollen from all the beatings that He endured for me so that I could one day have the Mind of Christ to overcome the lie of the enemy. All of this for me. One might think it was over but oh no friend it was just the beginning.

 

This would be the beginning of the end. These final moments on the Cross. The disciples watching and waiting anticipating the death of their dreams and end of all hope. How could this be? This is not what they expected? The hero doesn’t die but lives to overcome the enemy. Where is He going? He promised never to leave us or forsake us but He is definitely on His Way Out. I wonder if Mary pondered this in her heart along with the promised that God had given her. Did she realize that her Son was born to die? All things thoughts on this day as the Savior of the world died.

 

This morning as I contemplate Easter, I do not for a moment discount the magnitude of this moment when Jesus died. Jesus declared it was finished. “Telelestai” is a comprehensive, comfortable and confident word. In the Greek, this is considered to be a “perfect passive indicative” which is very important. This is definitive. What exactly had been done? Jesus had fulfilled the requirement of God’s Law. He fulfilled every New Testament prophecy concerning the Messiah. Jesus ended the power of sin in that moment because it was not ineffective. The Blood of Jesus poured out in sacrifice covered every possible transgression that might keep us from peace with God. Jesus finished the Work of His Father to perfection. In that moment, the suffering of mankind found an end. No longer were we victims of the fall of humanity, but now overcomes through the Blood of Jesus Christ.

 

Jesus bowed His Head and gave up His Spirit. Two things of importance here. Most people who were crucified kept their head up to continue to breathe from such a position. At the time of death, their heads would fall after their soul left their body. But Jesus bowed His Head in submission to God first, and then He released His Spirit. His Life was not taken from Him but freely surrendered to God in absolute obedience and submission to His Father’s Supreme Power and Authority. A sacrifice is to surrender something. It cannot be taken but must be freely given. All of this in one moment and one verse that would change history forever.

 

Matthew 27:50-54 (NIV)

 And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people. When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!”

 

The moment that Jesus surrendered His Life, He released or gave up His Spirit. This was not the sound of His Final breath escaping along with His Soul. No He cried out in a loud definitive voice, “It is finished.” Work complete. Game over. In that second, He released His Spirit the earth quickly responded. The veil in the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. Mankind could now access God the Father all by himself. The earth responded to the Spirit as it began to quake with purpose and fulfillment. Tombs opened and many holy people who had died were raised to life. Why? They could now access Heaven through Christ – their long wait had ended. Before leaving, they went about the city. Salvation was released in that moment as the first soul saved is captured in these verses, “When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, ‘Surely he was the Son of God!’” This was the moment everything changed. Resurrection Power released by His Spirit encircling the earth. Wow…what a moment! In Acts 2:1-4, the Spirit finds His Home as He begins filling people empowering their faith to do the impossible.

 

John 11:25-26 (NIV)

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

 

I remember my favorite Sunday school teacher, Mrs. Strock, sharing the story of Passover around the time of Easter. I was fascinated by the story of blood on a doorpost that would cause the death angel to “pass over” that home. I had no idea of the significance. As I shared before, although we went to church on Easter, my memories are more about the holiday than the Hope found that day. That was then and this is now. As a child, I naturally anticipated Christmas more than Easter. Now, I am more excited about Easter than any other day of the year. Jesus Christ is the Resurrection and Life. Anyone who believes in Him will live and death becomes a crossover point to everlasting life. The same power that God exerted to bring Jesus back from the grave now is available to us. We can live with a holy inhabitation of the Holy Spirit that brings every dead thing back to life. He is the One who cultivates every seed sown in faith to become fruit worthy of God. Do you believe? When we believe, God’s Power fills us and the Potential in our life becomes limitless. If only we could believe…

 

I Peter 1:3-9 (NIV)

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

 

I have living hope today through the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Hope that breathes new life into everything I put my hands to as a Spirit-filled and surrendered servant of the Most High God – His Favor is in me so that when I set out to do something it is supernaturally accomplished by faith because I have the Resurrection of Christ in me. Genuine faith is of greater worth than any commodity traded on the earth. His Love produces in us something far greater that is intangible and cannot be taken by the enemy. With this idea in mind, I challenge you to see today that His Power in us is not going to change the condition of the world. It is not designed to end circumstances, change consequences or eliminate situations. His Power is here to save us. It is here to change us. It is bringing dead things to live but the world will continue to die and fade away. Things will steal be corrupted and eaten by moth. Resurrection Power is for the human soul. It is the procurement of every promise hidden in God’s Plan for us. It is produced to complete us from the inside out. The end result of faith does nothing for our natural condition but does everything for our soul condition. As our soul prospers… so will we.

 

Ephesians 1:18-23 (NIV)

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.

 

Jesus is now King Jesus. He reigns supreme with all power and authority. God gave this to Him. Jesus chose to give His Power to us. He decided to invest His Spirit in us when it was released in the atmosphere and breathed into humanity once again. We have a glorious inheritance of completion and total fulfillment possible when we surrender our life to Jesus Christ. God never intended to stop at the time of salvation though many will give their hearts to Jesus on Sunday few will every move past the moment to experience full growth and development in Jesus Christ. He offers us His Fullness but too many times, we settle for something less. Something familiar. Something comfortable. Something in an ugly shade of gray rather basking in the Light of His Love. The same power that raised Christ from the dead and exalted Him to the Right Hand of God is living and breathing in those who choose to believe. Why don’t we do what Jesus did? Why not surrender our life in submission to God? Why not release His Word, His Spirit and His Power on the earth? Why not here? Why not now? Do you believe? Lord, help my unbelief so that I can experience more of Your Power in my life today.

 

Philippians 3:10-14 (NIV)

I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

 

Yesterday, I received the wonderful, miraculous news that our son is still in remission. It has been almost two years since his bone marrow transplant. The transplant was part of a clinical trial to save his life after it was clear that cancer had the upper hand. I had the Word of God that said, “He would live and not die.” At first I carried that Word over my head like a banner that was the first time. But there would be a second, third and fourth time followed by an fifth. By the time we had been denied the final time exhausting all earthly avenues to allow him to undergo the experimental clinical trial, all I had left was God’s Promise. I bowed my head at my desk in the empty building. I did not cry and I am not sure why. I simply told God what His Promise to me was and laid it all at His Son’s Feet. I felt a burden lift. I cannot explain in when all earthy options were exhausted and we were completely denied. I still had this Word that I was clinging too although my banner now resembled the strip of paper in a fortune cookie. I clung to it. My God is not dead. My Jesus is alive. He will do as He promised. Well, as most of you probably know by now, the approval for his procedure was waiting in the fax machine the very next day. No one knows who did it or where it came from. No one cared they literally ran with it. This is not the miracle though.

 

The clinical trials all come with information that is required reading by the participant. As I read each one, I was not at all encouraged. There was a 2% survival rate among patients participating in the trial. Most died before they completed treatment and even more in the first ninety days. Of the 2% who did survive, no one made it more than two years. We have entered the twentieth month. The doctors have given him a clean bill of health. Other than some inconveniences post treatment that are considered minor, they marvel at his resilience. He has recently been able to visit another young man who is battling the same cancer. He is giving away encouragement and hope. He is a full-time engineering student at a major university who filled with the Resurrection Power of Christ never gave up faith that God would restore his life. God did it for Him. He wants to do it for you! Our son’s story is far from over. Cancer is not the climax. The wonderworking power of God inside of Him is still working its way out.

 

Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, are your pressing for the goal to win the prize for which God has called you today? Why not? Do you have dead dreams? Do you have a broken heart? Is their sickness in your body? Are you a captive fear? Whatever insufficiency is in your life today – His Grace is enough! Jesus is declaring “IT IS FINISHED” for you today. Will you believe? Will you take Him at His Word? Pass by the Cross, leave your sin and shame but move from the death to life. Claim His Resurrection Power. Let Jesus breathe His Spirit and new life in you this weekend as we celebrate an empty tomb and Risen Lord. Don’t leave this moment unchanged. Everything in your life can change in a single moment. The moment you believe. It is finished. It is over. The battle is won. You are saved, healed, delivered, and complete in the Name of Jesus Christ and His Resurrection Power. To know Jesus to know His Power to share it with others – this is my goal. This is my race the one called faith. This will be my moment that changes everything because I choose to believe.

 

I Corinthians 15:54-58 (NIV)

When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

Stones

Stoned

Psalm 118:21-25 (NIV)

I will give you thanks, for you answered me; you have become my salvation. The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes. The Lord has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad. Lord, save us! Lord, grant us success!

I love Easter. It is my favorite of all holidays. Spring is a time of renewal and revitalization after a long winter. Things died off in fall and were buried in the cold, but now the newness of life returns to the planet we call home. Churches will be filled this Sunday with many people who have no real idea of Easter’s potential just that mom and grandma are preparing a feast and the kids really want to hunt eggs from a fabled rabbit. This is not about the pagan aspects of Easter. Let’s step over the concept in our mind and back in time. Way back in time. Easter is about Jesus, our Risen Lord and Soon Coming King. Celebration of the empty tomb is significant because it was the moment every impossible thing in our life became completely possible. The doorway to Eternity and forever was opened and the Keys of the Kingdom put into our hands. The death sentence removed from our life freed us from all captivity. By faith, every situation, circumstance, problem and trouble now can be worked out for our good according to the Father’s Plan. All of this was achieved when the stone rolled away and Jesus emerged victorious.

 

Slow done. I have to slow down. I want to run with the ladies headed back from the tomb to tell the others. Those who are caught up in busyness. The ones who have forgotten that they are free. Those who have missed out on mercy for today. Driving to Gainesville one day, I was thinking and praying at the same time. You ever do that? It starts out as a prayer, then you get lost in your thoughts for a moment, then back into prayer again. Our mind and spirit must agree so sometimes it has to discuss a few things I guess. At any rate, I was wondering why I was so confident that our son would live through his battle with cancer. Every time my hope grew tired and faith a little weak, something inside me would surge and I was reminded again of God’s Word for his life. The enemy longs for us to feel unworthy of God’s Promises so we will abandon faith and miss out on God’s Blessing. With this thought in mind, I was really contemplating the “why” of it all when the song, “Forever” came on the radio. I turned it up. The verse that changed my wandering and wonderful to full assurance was this: “The ground began to shake. The stone was rolled away. His Perfect Love could not be overcome. Now death where is your sting? Our Resurrected King has rendered you defeated.” Everything changed in that moment when Jesus emerged victorious. His Love proved to be the most powerful force in the universe on that day and it reverberates through the pages of history right up to today to fulfillment in forever.

We have victory over all things in Jesus Christ. The moment that He becomes our Savior and Lord, we have access to His Authority and Power in the world including death and the grave. It cannot hold us. The enemy cannot stop us. So why are there so many Christians who live in defeat, disappointment and dissatisfaction each day? Where are the believers who are followed by miracles, signs and wonders? What happened to God’s Power and Authority released to all mankind when Jesus emerged from the tomb that day? It is stoned and walled in by doubt and fear. The lie of the enemy holds many captive. Jesus is the Resurrection and Life yesterday, today and forever. It is time to roll the stones away from dead dreams and find lost vision again. To dare to do the impossible which is totally possible in all things pertaining to faith and godliness. If God said, it you can do it. Have it. Live in it. See it come to pass. You just have to believe.

Daniel 6:16-17 (NIV)

So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions’ den. The king said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!” A stone was brought and placed over the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the rings of his nobles, so that Daniel’s situation might not be changed.

Let’s look at some impossible situations. Daniel was a man of God who believed to the point of living it even when it created uncomfortable situations, persecution living in view of imminent death. He was there when the three Hebrew men were thrown in the fiery furnace, they were his friends. He had been in prison and forgotten by others. Much betrayal and treachery landed him in a den or cave of hungry lions. As if that were not enough, they placed a stone over the mouth of the den and it was sealed by the king warning others not to tamper with it. This was done so that Daniel’s situation could not be humanly changed.

Daniel 6:19-23 (NIV)

At the first light of dawn, the king got up and hurried to the lions’ den. When he came near the den, he called to Daniel in an anguished voice, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?” Daniel answered, “May the king live forever! My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, Your Majesty.” The king was overjoyed and gave orders to lift Daniel out of the den. And when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.

The king rushed to the lions’ den the next morning. Why? It says in the verses just before this one that he was unsettled and could not sleep the night before no matter what he tried to distract him. He wanted to know. He had to see for himself. Daniel’s faith saved him. He believed in the Lord and overcame death in that moment. When he emerged, the Light of God’s Love surrounded him and others who witnessed it were changed. See God doesn’t always change our situation or circumstances but we do not have to be held captive by it or changed in it. The faithfulness of Daniel sparked a revival culminated in the king’s decree that “every part of my kingdom people must fear and reverence the God of Daniel.”

John 11:38-44 (NIV)

Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. “Take away the stone,” he said. “But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.” Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.” When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”

Lazarus was dead. One of Jesus’ closest friends had passed. He was not only deceased but good and dead as he laid in the grave for three long hot days. When the messenger delivered the news that his friend was sick, the Lord declared, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” God’s Word for one man’s life is declared but who will take hold of it. Before Jesus made it back to his home, the man had died. Martha met Jesus with her version of the truth. Quite simply, if you had been here then Lazarus would not have died. She then gave the Lord a solicitous “bless your heart” as we say in the south with her words. “But I know that even now God will do whatever you ask.” Jesus tested her faith, “Your brother will rise again.” Her response, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” She did not fully believe… but she would. Jesus said to Martha, “I am the resurrection and life.” Do you believe that He is? Not Martha or her sister, Mary, but you. Do you believe that Jesus can bring dead things including people back to life…TODAY?

Jesus called Lazarus from the grave that day. The sisters received their brother here and now not after His Return. This is vitally important to those of us who tend to hide in caves covering the entrance with stones of our own. Our hearts become hard to the truth that resurrection life is a “now” concept and not a futuristic approach. When Jesus rose again, all of the Power and Authority that He had would come to live in those who trust and believe in His Great Name. We have to live in the full truth of resurrection power today and not wait for forever. Jesus handed us the Keys to His Kingdom ahead of time. We are to pray “Your Kingdom come, Your Will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.” Do not allow temporary circumstances dictate the outcomes in your life. Jesus brings dead things back to life. He gives parents their children back. He gives sisters to brothers and brothers to sisters. He can make all things new if we believe. Do you believe today? As we celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, it is fully embraced by one’s decision to live in the Authority and Power given on that day rather than cowering in caves covered by worthless rocks cast at us by the enemy of our soul.

Matthew 27:57-66 (NIV)

As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus. Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him. Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting there opposite the tomb. The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. “Sir,” they said, “we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.” “Take a guard,” Pilate answered. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.” So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.

Jesus was dead. Joseph of Arimathea asked for the Lord’s body and prepared a proper burial. He placed Jesus in the tomb. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance and left the Lord there. This was not enough for the Pharisees. They asked the king to seal the tomb so the disciples dare not steal the body of Jesus. Sound familiar? Not only did Pilate seal the tomb but posted a guard to watch over it. It is as if mankind backed by principalities and darkness dared Jesus to rise again. They were intend on Jesus staying dead. But that’s not how the story goes…

Matthew 28:1-10 (NIV)

After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.” So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”

Despite all this, Jesus still came back for us. He overcame death and the grave emerging victoriously. No one rolled the stone against gravity from its resting place, the Hand of God rolled it back to reveal His Son Glorified. Jesus had won. The battle was over. Every captive freed. Every curse broken. Every disease healed and death finally averted. I cannot imagine how happy, relieved and overjoyed the men and women who followed Jesus must have been on that day. They saw the torture that Jesus endured before He was nailed to a roughhewn Cross high on that hill. They watched as others mocked Him and even turning on them. Helplessly and silently they endured heartache and despair as they watched the Lord take His Last Breath as a man. With all this on their mind, imagine how wonderfully sensationally and overwhelming it must have been when they saw that despite all of this – Jesus was alive.

Jesus is alive. He did not leave us empty handed. We have the Keys to His Kingdom. Eternity in our hearts. Filled with His Spirit. We have the same power in us that brought Jesus from the grave. Why are we not using it? We are hidden in caves covered by stones because somehow we have forgotten that we win. No matter what the weapon is – we win. We are victorious overcomers in Jesus Christ. There is no reason to give up or surrender to any adversarial opposition that comes against us. We win. We just need to stand firm in our faith and we will be victorious.

Ephesians 1:18-23 (NIV)

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.

In honor of Jesus on this coming Resurrection Day, I am challenged to remember and respond to the Truth that I have the same power “as the mighty strength (God) exerted when He raised Christ from the dead and seated Him at His Right Hand in the Heavenly Realms.” The same power that is “far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.” God has placed all things under the Authority and Power of Jesus Christ. By choosing to believe, I can walk in this same power every single day of my life. It is to choose life. To believe that all things are possible because Jesus is alive. The Fullness of Christ belongs to you today. It doesn’t matter what man says about you. It doesn’t matter what people do to you. It doesn’t even matter if your fate is sealed by circumstances. There is no greater power over us than Jesus Christ. We can live from glory to glory when we live to Glorify His Son. We do so by living a life of faithfulness to God fully surrendered and submitted to Jesus Christ. It is the very place that Jesus’ Authority and Power is instilled in us so that we can walk in victory. Dead dreams come to life. We will see visions of the secret, hidden and deep things of God due to the power and potential of faith coming to life inside of us. Resurrection Sunday is coming. Will you let the Lord roll away the stones holding you back from fulfillment in Christ? Will you step out into the Light of His Love? Will you be victorious? Jesus did His Part. The rest is up to you and me!

Philippians 3:8-12 (NIV)

What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.

Just Because He Lives – A Devotion

Just Because He Lives

Luke 24:1-8 (NIV)

On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ”Then they remembered his words.

 

“Then they remembered His Words…” Oh how many times I fall into that category of believer. When we drift off course a little just living or hardship unexpectedly comes knocking on our door, we continue to do life as we know it and forget that confident hope we have been given as believers. The angels asked the women that day, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here. He is risen!” These words are a source of endless comfort. They are the fuel that fires our testimony in life. The existence of our faith is in the simple fact that death had no power over our Lord and the grave could not hold Him back from fulfilling His Purpose. His Death paid the price for every sin, weakness, and sickness committed. His Burial signified the fact it was finished and He marched straight into hell to take back the Keys to the Kingdom to give them back to God’s Kids. When He stepped out of that tomb and later ascended into Heaven it secured our freedom to be Children of God. It gave substance to faith and confidence to our hope. It doesn’t matter what happened in our life yesterday, what happens today, or what will happen tomorrow, just because Jesus is alive I am well-equipped to have the victory. I have everything that I need to overcome the enemy just because He is alive. I am fully stocked with everything I need to thrive and prosper in this life. It is all mine because Jesus lives. Even those things I do not understand, He will make clear to me one day. All those loved ones who I am missing are secure in His Kingdom and we will be reunited. All because He lives.

“Because He lives…I can face tomorrow. Because He lives…all fear is gone. Because I know He holds the future…life is worth the living just because He lives. (Because He Lives – Bill Gaither)

I Corinthians 15:17-28 (NIV)

And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in turn: Christ, the first fruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For he “has put everything under his feet.” Now when it says that “everything” has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.

 

We are made alive in Jesus Christ. The death sentence in our life was rebuked when He paid for our sins in red blood. Perfect blood. Sinless blood. Innocent blood. He sacrificed His Life for us but until He was made alive again – we had nothing. Jesus Christ is the first fruits of all that God has promised us. First fruits are the first productivity. He is the first harvest of many blessings to come for God’s Children. If God was simply out to save you and set you free, the Cross was more than enough. But God was out for full restoration. He intends for you to fulfill the purpose given you in Creation despite the fact that sin took over. Jesus is a fresh clean start for every man and woman who accepts Him as Lord and Savior. We must learn the importance of the resurrection power of God in Jesus Christ. We must know the significance to step into the reality of our salvation and prosper in God’s Love. Jesus sits at the Right Hand of God interceding for you and I today. He will remain there until “everything” has been put under Christ’s Authority. How can this be? I thought Jesus already won the victory. He did. Now it’s our turn to accept the prize.

Matthew 27:50-51 (NIV)

And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life.

At that moment, resurrection power was released across the world. When Jesus died and gave up His Spirit, the earth literally shook with power. Rocks split and tombs broke open. But wait there is more, holy people who died were raised from the dead. In the past few years, I have learned to rely heavily on the Power of God in our life. We have walked on the verge of death with our son not once but five separate times. Each time that I have been told, “It’s cancer” has pushed me into a deeper reliance on Jesus Christ. He is life. My son needed life so we went to the source. He became our only hope and proved to be enough. What about the others who did not beat the disease on the earth? What about those taken too soon? Christ remains our only hope. Full reconciliation to Christ only happens in the resurrection of the dead when we finally shed the sin that kept us back for the life that we have been promised. So how about now?

John 11:23-27 (NIV)

Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”

When Jesus arrived Lazarus had been dead for three days. He was buried in a tomb and the family was mourning his death. When Martha met Jesus on His Way to her house that day they had a conversation that I believe benefits you and I on this Resurrection Sunday. Jesus told Martha, “Your brother will rise again.” But Martha had already accepted death and decided in her heart that they would be reunited in Heaven. Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live…” Martha agreed. She then confessed that He was the Messiah, the Son of God. She professed her faith in the Lord at that moment. But Jesus wasn’t talking about forever, but He was talking about “today”. She was willing to wait to see Lazarus again but the Lord was ready to release His Power in her family today. I wonder if that is the message for our life. Yes, the Resurrection of Jesus and fact that He lives is the foundation of faith that leads to salvation. But maybe just maybe Jesus is reminding us that Resurrection Power is for our everyday life as well! Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead that day. (John 11:43-44) We think we are letting the Lord off the hook when we accept the situations in life with hope but sometimes the Lord is calling forth our faith for new life now! Jesus released His Spirit and the Power of God became possible in every single person who gives their heart and life to Christ. That means you and I will have supernatural outcomes when we accept that Jesus is alive and in us as a way of life and not only hope for the future.

Acts 4:32-35 (NIV)

All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.

 

With great power the apostles continued to testify to the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus…wow does that blow the top off modern day evangelism. You mean to tell me to be successful in sharing the Gospel all I have to do is tell people that Jesus is alive. Yes! All believers where one in heart and mind. Imagine the revival that would come to the modern day church if we stopped worrying about everyone else and chose just to share God’s Love. You cannot share something you do not know firsthand but must experience the Love of God and His Power first. God’s Grace works powerfully in us to slay our flesh and give way to the Spirit who is life. People literally laid money at the feet of the apostles unprovoked. We want God to bless us. We ask Him to prosper us. We desire healing and wholeness. We want what is rightfully ours. We cry out for release. We have all these things simply because Jesus is alive. If we can learn to focus on the Life-Giving Power available just in knowing Jesus – nothing more and nothing less – we will have all these things and so much more. Simply the message to others today – life is worth living just because He lives. That’s it. He is more than enough! Celebrate Jesus today!

Ephesians 1:18-21 (NIV)

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.