Breaking Free
     The great sadness I carry after nearly 30 years of ministry is the knowledge of how many people I have come into contact with throughout those years continue to walk in captivity.  We are born into this captivity, and Christ is the only way out of it, but tragically, so many of those who would profess belief upon Him, would say they are His and follow Him, themselves continue to live in some degree of bondage.  I love the way The Message translation of the Bible puts I Thessalonians 4:14, "Since Jesus died and broke loose from the grave, God will most certainly bring back to life those who die in Jesus."  The resurrection of Christ did just that.  It broke the power of death over us, both physical and spiritual.  For those who are His, the grave cannot hold us, and neither may sin, which is the author of death, because it has been conquered by Him who is the Author of Life.  That life, resurrection life, fully received, will break all who receive it, from the power of the grave.  
      When Christ called forth Lazarus from the grave, the first thing he told those who were there was to cut the grave clothes from him, grave clothes that held him, and did not permit any movement.  So many have been called forth from spiritual death into His life, but the grave clothes have never been removed.  In the form of addictions, thought patterns, behaviors, beliefs about the Father and ourselves, these grave clothes remain, hold us in their grip, make it impossible to move about, emotionally, spiritually, even physically.  Lies that we have believed, about others, ourselves, and especially the Father, keep us in captivity.  We've been called out of the grave, but we've never broken free of it.  It haunts us still, and so the resurrection life He offers remains an ideal, not a reality.  We find ourselves coping with life, instead of living in the resurrection power of Christ, a power and life that bring overcoming and overwhelming victory.  We end up trying to cope with a life created by sin and death, rather than living the life we were created for by Him, and is ours in Christ.
     What is the state of our lives today?  Are we coping, trying to survive and make it through another day, hoping more good than bad takes place, that we "do" more good than bad, or, are we living in the power of His resurrection?  Do we know what it is to be an overcomer, to be "more than a conqueror,"  to face the power of sin and death, knowing it has no power over us because we're in Christ?  To know that in every battle, we're victorious, because He is victorious.  Yesterday, today, and tomorrow, He is victorious, and so, in Him, we are too.  This is breaking free of the grave.  Have you?  Have I?  Have we?

Blessings,
Pastor O
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  June 2018  
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