John 11: 44

Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”

This puts me in remembrance of the Israelites in captivity in Egypt. God repeatedly said to Pharaoh, “Let My people go!” Jesus came to earth proclaiming liberty to the captives and freedom to prisoners. We saw that Galatians 5: 1 reads, “It was for freedom that Christ set us free.” Most people who read this daily devotional are blessed to live in countries where they enjoy political and social freedom. The troubling truth, though, is that far too many of us are weighted down with grave clothes and are not living the life of freedom mentally, emotionally or spiritually that Jesus’ victory provides us.

The greater part of us are well acquainted with spiritual death. We were lost, just floundering our way through life when Jesus reached out and brought us into fellowship with him. That fellowship gave us new life, a redeemed life. It is a miracle and a daily joy but sometimes we forget how it felt to be dead. Do you remember what it was like before you had hope? Do you remember the daily frustrations and continuous trials?

Life in Jesus offers hope, but it also yields freedom. The more intertwined our lives become with his, the more free we live. It is amazing, truly. I have been a Christian as long as I can remember. Though, I can’t remember a time when Jesus wasn’t precious to me I have found a different way of living, a different flavor to my Christianity if you will. We have an ability to life our lives with and through him. Recall the words of Paul, “The life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God,” (Galatians 2: 20). Beyond mere Christianity is life in Christ and that is our real objective. It is living with him and for him in every moment of our existence. The concept is so far beyond what I originally learned that I still find it a mind stretching experience. Jesus told the Samaritan woman at the well that if she would drink of the water he offers, she would never thirst again yet how many of us are spiritually parched. There is life and freedom in Christ. Those are not mere words. That kind of truth, however, only comes through laying down our own lives. How does one do that?

Here is my advice. Seek God with all your heart and might. Our Christian walk is often characterized by phases of growth often resulting in a different relationship with the Trinity. I began one of those deeper walks thirteen years ago which completely transformed my life. It began, though, with seeking him. Through that my life and his life have become one amalgamated existence. There no longer is any me without him. And, truthfully, I have become part of him too. This intertwining has changed every aspect of my life: my health, nutrition, relationships, patience, level of spiritual revelation, peace, even every day tasks are easier and I am more successful in the things I do because he is in the midst of them. He really is in everything, even your breath and this shakes the grave clothes from your body so that the life you live is one of vitality, joy, peace and, when we are doing it right, even ease. He gives us the grace to live above our ability, wisdom or knowledge. He gives us a lighter step and clearer eyes.

Shake the grave clothes from your frame. Arise and live. There is fullness of life in Christ Jesus and I honestly want every drop of it in you. My desire is that you live in overflowing abundance of his grace and goodness. Let my people go! Be free! Enjoy a life intertwined with Jesus.

Happily Employed

Psalm 145: 14

The Lord sustains all who fall, and raises up all who are bowed down.

Everyone stumbles sometime. Maybe it is sheer fatigue that gets you or maybe it is an overwhelming problem. No matter, though, because God is always there to lift you back up. He provides for you while you recover. Even if you are bowed down with the weight of challenges or the number of things you have to do, He is ever present to sustain you and lift you up. Lean on Him and be very aware of His presence with you. Allow yourself to rely on His support. You don’t have to be independent and self-sufficient. That is just ego talking. He is a good father just wanting to help you. Give Him whatever is weighing you down and let Him be your God. It is His job to sustain you and lift you up. Don’t make him unemployed by trying to do it for yourself. Keep God employed.

The Hour is Late

Romans 13: 11        NIV

And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.

Awaken O Mighty Church of the living god. The time is at hand. This is the awaited hour. God is on the move and calling for His soldiers, the disciples of Jesus, to arise and establish the Kingdom of God in the earth. God has given us the tools. He gave us the Son and the Holy Spirit. He has saved our lives by grace. He has sent His messengers, the prophets, teachers and pastors to arm us for this age. There is nothing left for God to do. The call has gone out, “Arise! Awaken! Your time is at hand.”

You have been called by the Almighty to a great and glorious work. Shake off the everyday humdrum existence and look out upon the horizon. The army of God is assembling and you are part of this great and mighty force. Jesus bought you, saved you and redeemed you for this day. You are the hand of the Lord, the voice, the heart. Arise! Cast off your bedclothes for the voice of the Lord is calling out your name. Can you hear Him?  

God saved you because you asked Him. He saved you because He loves you but it does not end there. He called you even before you had a heart for Him. Your receipt of salvation was the acceptance of His call to you. You have been ordained for this time; to be a mighty force for the Kingdom of God. God did not send Jesus into the earth to save us only so that we might spend eternity with Him. He sent salvation into the earth while we are still living here so that we might partner with Him to accomplish His great purposes. Your salvation is not just for the end times; it is very loudly for today. God had a purpose for salvation and it was not so that we can continue to live carnal lives, lives that look very much like our lives before we were saved. If Jesus’ sacrifice and the resultant salvation was only about our lives in eternity then God could have chosen an after-death time of choice for us. Salvation came into the earth so that we could do something with it while we are here. We are to be alive to Christ now. Rise up, Paul says. Awaken from your slumber. This day, today, is THE day of salvation. This is the day that God marked for His children to awaken and become the active and powerful body of Christ. 

We must each live our lives as alive to Christ. What does that mean? Well, it may well be a question that each of us must take up with the Father but at one level it must mean that the lives we now live in this fleshly body are lived to and for Christ; that our relationship with the Lord is the most important thing in our lives. Furthermore, this dedication to the Lord and Father must show in our everyday existence. Our lives are to be more that earthly work and recreation. Our priority for Christ should be something we cannot hide. Our lives should be consumed with doing the work of Christ through love and the power of the Holy Spirit. I am not teaching a works doctrine. I am preaching a heart decision; a decision to answer the call on your life. Up ‘til now we’ve been in training but it is time for us to graduate and get out in the world and bring the power of God forward. It is time for global unification around the person of Jesus forsaking useless doctrinal debate.

What would it look like if all who profess to be followers of Christ would all at once stand up? Can you imagine looking at the body from outer-space and seeing it arise? No longer are we isolated and cut off from the hearts of other believers. The job of the Kingdom is too big for us individually but together we are a mighty force. We have only to hearken to the call and awaken. Visualize the body of Christ rising from its slumber. Each one of us is an important part of that body. Even if you are only a toe in the body of Christ imagine the body without that toe. We may stumble and fall without you. Today is the day. Let us all lift our voices in harmony answer the voice of our Lord. This is the day. This is the hour. Awaken from your slumber and arise.