"It must be unnatural for Jesus to leave anything dead."  Beth Moore  How does that statement leave you?  In anger or joy? Agreement, or denial?  I ask those questions because death is a part of life.  We can be sure that in this fallen world, we will suffer loss. The Father has never promised that we wouldn't, or that we would not suffer or know the deep pain of losing loved ones, marriages, prodigal children, jobs, or ministries.  There will be many "tombs"in our lives.  His promise is that they do not have the power to keep us "entombed."  In each and all of them, like Lazarus, He calls us forth.  Christ, and Christ alone, offers to us, in every "dead place," His resurrection life.  From every tomb, from every grave, He calls us forth.  Do we come to Him, or, do we remain in the tomb?
     Acts 2:24 holds a powerful promise for us.  Do we believe it?  Peter, preaching on the day of Pentecost, and announcing the victory of the Father's Kingdom over all the power of death, said of His Lord's death and resurrection, "However, God released Him from the horrors of death and raised Him back to life again, for it was impossible for death to keep Him in its grip."  Today, there are countless lives, both within and outside of the church that are being held in the grip of death.  Might you be one of them?  There has been loss, terrible loss. Our enemy satan, working through the power of death, has managed to entomb us over the pain and suffering of the loss.  To that tomb Christ has come, and He calls us forth, into the fullness and power of His resurrection life.  Satan has convinced us of his lie that there is no future, no hope, and no chance for escape.  He has us in his grip, and has persuaded us that it's an unbreakable one.  Christ has destroyed the power of that lie, and of every lie.  He calls us forth.
     Oftentimes, we think no one understands the depth of the pain and suffering of our loss, but we're wrong.  He does, and He does completely.  John 3:16 has familiarity with even the most hardened unbeliever, yet few of us really understand the pain of the Fathers loss in those words.  "For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son......that (we) might not perish, but have eternal life."  Beth Moore says that a clearer meaning for "His only" might be, "His one and only."  God gave up His one and only Son.  Loss, terrible loss.  What might be the "one and only" person or thing we have lost? How deep is the pain over it?  Can we believe that God knows it, has experienced such pain as well?  He knew that death could not hold His Son.  Can we believe that through His death and then His raising, that it cannot hold us either?
     Moore says that sometimes the miracle is that "we live through" the horror of the loss.  That may sound empty to you, but she does not say we exist through it, but that we live through it.  Live through in and with His resurrection life.  His abundant life, which at root means "life unbound."  When Jesus called forth Lazarus, He bid those who were there to "unbind" him from his graveclothes.  Loss is not what defined, defines Christ.  Life is.  Does it define you and I?  To all those entombed, He calls us forth....to life.  A life free of the graveclothes.  He calls us forth.  Do we come?
    Mark Batterson has a wonderful title for his newest book; Graverobber.  That is exactly who and what Christ is.  A graverobber. Through the power of His life, a life the word tells us cannot be destroyed, He calls us forth from all that seeks to or has entombed us.  Sin and spiritual death, and the separation from the Father that they bring.  The horror, pain, and suffering of what may have been lost to us. From the grip of the pain of that loss, He calls us forth.  The enemy may have robbed us of life, and managed to place us in a grave, a tomb, but He calls us forth, robbing death, the tomb, of its power.  It could not hold Him in its grip, and in Him, it cannot hold us.  I know the loss is real, in my own life I do.  I know that He is more real.  Is He real to you?  Let Him rob death of its power over you, and enter into the power of His life that He will prove to us, cannot be destroyed.

Pastor O
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   May 2019   
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