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Monday, March 28, 2016

See it Rising

‘Up from the grave, He arose! With a mighty da da da da da….

So, obviously I don’t know the words to this song off the top of my head, but it’s the song that was playing on and on in my spirit as I slept, and which I woke up to this morning. It’s also a lazy morning for me, so pardon my not taking time to research the words. What I do know with certainty is that the chorus goes ‘He arose! He arose! Halleluyah, Christ arose!’ and sis, that’s all that counts – not just in this Easter season, but every day of our lives.

That said, allow me wish you a Happy Easter or closer still, a Happy Resurrection. There’s been more of a hue and cry this year about the Word ‘Easter’ originating from some pagan traditions, and I will be one of the first to admit that I found it more spiritually uplifting to say ‘Happy Resurrection Sunday’ to people all of yesterday. I don’t know what position you adopted, but as my older son said last night ‘Mamz, as long as people know this has nothing to do with cute bunny rabbits and egg-shaped chocolates, then it’s all good, no matter what they choose to call it’. I had a good laugh, but that was some serious Word. As long as you and I understand that our faith is hinged on the reality of Jesus going to die for us on the Cross, and coming back 3 days later having conquered sin and death for your sake and mine…. As long as we know that, then it’s all good sis. It really is, call it what you may!

Seriously speaking though, there is something about Easter that gives serious food for thought. Irrespective of denomination, or of how mature our level of faith and relationship with God is or isn’t, a good number of Christians go through the motions of the Easter festivities in our various churches with either with a fervor that is over and beyond our normal day to day engagement with God; or with nothing more than a sense of religious responsibility to the expectations of the church ….and perhaps an ingrained expectation of self, a knowing that in specific seasons there is a need to ‘step it up somewhat’. Of course there are many who have a deep and mature relationship with God and a daily walk with Him that is strong and secure by the power of the Holy Spirit, and methinks that for those who have attained this level, Easter and Resurrection are a daily reality for which they continually top up their gratitude tanks. Which category do you see yourself in, sis? It’s important to face that reality so you can continue to go and grow in Christ.

More than anything else, I believe that if we had a clearer sense of the reality of what our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ did for us, we would actually see that the Resurrection Principle is continually at work in our lives, and this would give us peace in the midst of many of the difficulties that we face in different seasons of our lives. This is the Word the Lord would have me share with you today, and I pray by the power of the Holy Spirit that I will be able to put it across to you with clarity.

I’m not Catholic, but my mum was. On the back of that therefore I had attended the Catholic Church off and on for a few years during my secondary school years. I recall being quite intrigued by the ceremonial marking of the ‘Stations of the Cross’ every Easter period. Even without having a deep understanding at that time of just what Jesus did for me on the Cross of Calvary, I knew nonetheless that the Stations were a critical part of the faith of the body. Fast forward several years later, I gave my life to Christ and as I grew spiritually, the things that looked like ‘ceremonies’ took on a deeper meaning for me. And don’t get me wrong… I actually feel that many a time, we still go through mere ‘ceremonies’ in our various churches wittingly or otherwise. But when you really and truly begin to grow in Christ, a different set of dynamics begin to play out in your heart and spirit.

Sis, do you know that in life you go through the ‘Stations’ in seasons, sometimes daily? You do sis, as do I. Jesus however has given us a template for this, and in the end an assurance that helps us to go through. Please walk with me as I try to minister this to you as the Lord ministered the Resurrection Principle to me.

Think about it… Jesus was in the garden of Gethsemane. It was a beautiful place, cool and breezy. It was calm and quiet, save for the birds chirping wonderful songs of nature. Think about it sis… many times it seems like all is going oh-so-smoothly in our lives, when before you can blink, it looks like someone pulled the rug out from under our feet. Unlike Jesus however, we don’t have the gift of foresight. Many of us are not clear what our purpose is life is. We are God’s but we are not God, so we don’t know the end from the beginning...if we did, it would be easier to deal with the storms of life wouldn’t it? But can we remember that Jesus was flesh and blood in His time here on earth? So yeah, He had the edge of knowing there was a specific grand purpose, but He still went through didn’t He?

The one person that approached Him in the garden was a trusted friend, one of His inner circle. Sis, how many times have the hurts in your life come from your inner circle? A husband deals you an emotional blow; a close friend speaks out against you; a sister takes from you; a co-worker stabs you in the back; a business partner steals from you; a child breaks your trust… how many times? Jesus didn’t allow the peace and beauty of the garden to camouflage the storms He knew were ahead. He understood clearly His assignment and knew that betrayal was part of the process. He kept His eyes on the big picture – the salvation of the world, and He chose to love Judas through the deception. He understood that Judas was actually condemning himself, and Jesus was pained enough to love him through this. Sis, do you remember the prayer on the cross? It was, ‘Father, forgive them for they know not what they do’. Methinks Jesus probably prayed that prayer in His heart at the garden. ‘Lord, forgive Judas for he knows not what he is doing’

Sis, can you be bold enough in the midst of some betrayal to love that person enough with an agape love, so much so as to ask God to forgive them? Can you understand that when people do wrong and hurtful things to you, they are priming themselves for the wrong side of eternity? Can you love them enough to pray God’s mercies over them that they may not be lost? Can you see also that in praying for those who hurt you, you are actually praying God’s mercies on yourself …because surely, you are sometimes the one hurting others? Can you see the template sis?   

Fast forward a bit and Jesus is condemned by the Sanhendrin. Condemnation is such a weighty thing isn’t it? Many times we have people set up as judge and juror in our lives, based on the strength of accusations that many times they don’t take the time to substantiate. Many times, it is those we think would have stood up for us that betray us with their silence or denial. Remember Peter denying Jesus? Many times, it is those we though should know better that judge us the most harshly. But again, think about Jesus and Peter….Jesus knew Peter would deny him, but He loved him in advance of and through the betrayal. It was a heart of compassion that He held towards Peter.

Sis, how can you know someone would deny you and you keep walking with that person? That is not the way of men is it? That would be foolishness wouldn’t it? Well, the principle is this. If you walk in the Spirit, your spirit must hold sway. You will have to actively choose love and forgiveness, mercy and the extension of grace… for your own sakes, and then for the sake of those who wrong you. Our God says we should not come before Him is we have any unforgiveness or grudge in our hearts. So when you struggle in these situations sis, please remember your choices are more about your soul first, than about who is right and wrong in the flesh.

Think about the scourging of Jesus and the crown of thorns placed on His head. Synonyms for scourging include afflicting, tormenting, devastating, terrorizing. Sound familiar? I know there have been times past when I curled up in a ball of fear and uncertainty because of the challenges that presented themselves. Times when it looked like I would be swallowed up, and when I could see no way through. There were times when it felt like the issues were compounded by a heavy crown of thorns – by that one new thing that was weighty enough as to cause my head to literally hurt, to cause me to struggle to think through the pain, or to see through the tears that beclouded my vision. I have never cried blood, but I have known what it means to literally see ‘red’ – not in anger however, but in imaginable emotional pain.

Jesus response in this situation is classic. Through the hurt and the pain, He carries His cross. It’s heavy, it’s unmerited, it’s bigger than him, it’s symbolic of things for which He had no hand, and it’s unfair. But, He carries it nonetheless. It was in His power as the Son of God to kill all those who were scourging Him simply by a spoken word. But it is also in the same power of His understanding – as God, the end from the beginning; that He rather chose to go through the process.

We have to go through, sis. This is life! Whether we like it or not, our reality is that there is good and evil in this world, and many times we will be affected by it. Indeed, a harsher reality is that many times we ourselves are players in either the good or the evil that others will go through, but we may not readily see this. But that’s not the topic today. Let’s focus today on where we are the hurt, the betrayed, the judged, the condemned, the abandoned, the rejected, and the dejected! We have to go through sis! This is why Jesus assured us that in life we will have troubles, but that He would be with us. He said we would go through fire and flood, but He would see us through.

If we accept in advance that we will ‘go though’; if we accept in advance that sometimes what we will go through will be unbelievably weighty…. and if we will accept and trust that as Jesus made it, we will make it; then we come to the battlefield primed for a different kind of victory, sis. We do! It is just that much easier to bear because our eyes are set on things above. We come to where we have an inner peace in the midst of our storms that make no sense in the flesh’s scheme of things. We are at rest in war because we are sure that in the end, we win!

A couple of things strike me deeply as I meditate on the ‘Stations’, or let’s just call it Jesus journey to the cross, shall we? First is the fact that Jesus fell. The Son of God made manifest in the flesh, fell. The weight of that physical cross was too much for His physical body to bear alone. What is the principle behind this, sis? Quite simply, Jesus is telling us that the fact that we fall doesn’t mean it’s over, it doesn’t mean we’ve failed. He is saying that it is okay to be weak. Sometimes, it’s all just too much and there is nothing wrong with being in that position. However, He does want us to know that there is always help available at our times of weakness. It wasn’t a coincidence that Simon of Cyrene was there and came to help Jesus carry the cross. No sis! Hundreds of others were there, thousands maybe. They watched and did nothing. Many empathized with Jesus, their hearts broke on His behalf, but they did nothing. Many jeered at Him. Many sneered at Him … how dare He call Himself the Son of God? Save yourself then, let us see! Many were unmoved – just one more crucifixion of another ‘nobody’, another ‘thief’, another ‘wannabe’.

But, there is always help available in our crises, sis! Simon of Cyrene was strategically placed, positioned and primed to be a source of strength and support when Jesus needed it. Have you noticed how when you are going through, support comes from the strangest and most unexpected of places? A stranger speaks a word that is such an encouragement to you. Something someone is preaching about is a direct word from God to you for your current situation. Out of the blues, someone draws close to you with a support that you cannot fathom the source, and sometimes as soon as the challenge is over the relationship reverts to status quo. Someone you thought couldn’t care less speaks out in defense of you, gives you inside information and advice to help you overcome a hurdle. And can I assure you that even if you never know, someone somewhere will actually lift you up in prayer?

Can I assure you even more so that even if none of those happen, Jesus Christ Himself is your Help and Advocate, and daily makes intercession for you before the throne of God? Sis, falling is part of the resurrection process, okay. It is only when something dies that we can speak of it resurrecting. Don’t be afraid of the things that God will cause to die as you go through your storms and seasons. Trust Him even in that process and know He will lift you from your prostrate state, and as He lifts you, He will bring to life those things that you need for the next phase, and He will also birth new things that you need for seasons ahead. Amen! Don’t be afraid of the fall sis. Trust God that help is and always will be available. Just know though that the help won’t always look like what you expect it to, and so pray in advance that you will always recognize those who are on a God-assignment to you in every season, particularly in your night seasons.

The other thing is that you must recognize that you can’t afford to be proud in your night seasons especially. God resists the proud remember? If Jesus the Son of God accepted help from a mere man, then who are you and I to hold ourselves above? Sis, receiving help is not a sign of weakness. It is rather a sign of emotional maturity. Many times we don’t realize that when we allow ourselves be helped it is a growth process also for he or she who has reached out to help us. Sometimes we fail to see that by our example, they are also being built up. Stop making like you have it all going on, sis. Be bold enough to be openly weak, afraid, uncertain! That in itself is a living epistle to someone else who has wondered all along how they can make it through when they are not as strong, as together, as competent and as capable as you.

Another thing that struck me about the Stations was how in the process of going through, Jesus chose to give hope to another. Here was a thief, the one who actually did deserve to be crucified, and he asked for mercy. Jesus said to him, ‘I assure you today, you will be with Me in Heaven’. Truthfully sis, when we are unjustly persecuted, how often are we readily able to extend grace and mercy? Easier said than done isn’t it? But this is the template Jesus gave us, sis. Indeed, the Holy Spirit ministered to me that many of the things we will go through are not for our sake. but that Jesus may be lifted high in the lives of others. Sis, the Lord is asking that no matter what you are going through, in that season, be sure to be a source of encouragement to someone else. Use your travails as an instrument of worship. How? Sis, use your going through to encourage someone else.

Think about how desperate and dire your situation would be if you didn’t have Christ as an anchor and a hope, sis. Do you know that one too many are without hope? Do you know that one too many are only clinging on for dear life? Do you know that in making a bold and open declaration that ‘I am going through, but I know Jesus has got my back and I will come out of this too’ you are more of a living Gospel to someone somewhere than you realize? Don’t waste your pain, sis. Find it in yourself to use the lessons learnt to bless someone else. This is a Resurrection principle. God is asking you today to purpose your pain for a greater weight of glory. Nothing helps us deal with the things we struggle with as much as helping someone else through their own struggles.  Help someone resurrect their trust, hope and faith in God and His ability to bring them through their condemnation and crucifixion experiences, sis….and then see how God moves mightily for you time and time again.

Can you try to imagine what Jesus was going through on the cross, sis? There was unbelievable pain from open gaping wounds. There was incredible shame from being ridiculed, mocked, exposed - hung near naked for all to see. He was openly laughed at, spoken to disrespectfully by those who were otherwise so much less than He; He was disdained, spat on. It was a combination of physical torture, psychological distress and emotional anguish on that cross. But ….Jesus was on a spiritually higher battlefield.  He understood that in the end, God purpose would stand. He understood that the trials of the present day were working a far greater weight of glory. He understood that end which had been declared from the beginning was at hand. And so He was fully yielded spiritually, even though everything else about Him was under immense pressure and pain.

Sis, when we trust God with our all… we have a spiritual rest that defies logic. I have said this before and I can’t emphasize it enough. You have to ask the Holy Spirit help you enter this secret place for yourself, sis. That is the only way we can successfully navigate this life. Do you see? There is always a bigger picture and you have to come to where you always have the assurance that the Greater One is on your side and He is working it all out for your good, no matter how heavy it seems in this season. There is purpose behind the cross you carry, sis. It’s hard when you are hung out and on display. It’s hard when men choose to make an open show of you, of your failings, of your shame, of your disgrace. It’s hard when it is merited and a thousand times more so when it is not. But sis, lift it up to Jesus and let His resurrection power flow. Don’t deviate from the principle of the Cross, and I assure you that in the end you will be victorious.

Jesus elected to die, that God may be glorified. He elected to endure all that you and I might have eternal life. He is asking that in your life as well as in mine, we follow His example - that we might not make His sacrifice to be of no effect, that we might not be lost, and that we also draw others to Him. Sis, when He died, it looked like it was all over. Some cried, yes. But the majority laughed and used Him as the butt of their jokes at dinner that night. He died, sis! He died! I know that many a time, the results of our going through is that things will die. Marriages die! Treasured relationships die! Businesses die! Financial stability dies, etc. Can we be real about the fact that some things will necessarily need to die for some other things to have new life by God’s design?

And death is painful sis. Any separation process is painful, even if we ourselves adjudge it necessary. Just as Jesus was placed in the tomb and it was sealed with a heavy rock, we will have those times when it looks like not only did something die, but a major obstacle has been placed before us such that it is even hard to get to the ‘’corpse’ and begin to examine what we might have done wrong and how to address it better next time. Sometimes, there is no room for ‘lessons learnt’, it’s just ‘finished, final, over and done, dead and buried!

But He arose, sis!

‘Halleluyah! Jesus is alive! Death has lost its victory and the grave has been denied. Jesus is forever! He’s alive! He’s alive! Halleluyah! Jesus is alive!’

That is the new song, sis. The one that I know all the words to! And it’s an awesome complement to the one I started out this piece with.  Sis, Jesus resurrection on the third day is still part of the principle that the Holy Spirit would have us walk in today and always. Indeed, it’s the greatest part. It’s the assurance from God that when He is in a matter, it only dies permanently if He has judged it as not good for you. Otherwise, He it is Who has the power of life and death. He is the One Who can kill and make alive. He is resurrection power Himself! By a single breath He gives life. Today, God is asking us to remember that the only permanence is in Him. He has assured us that He works all things out together for our good. He is asking us to come back to the place of seeing everything we are struggling with, everything that has tried to hold us down, everything we are going through… to see it rising. He is challenging us to go through knowing that Jesus arises for us always, no matter what we contend with. He is asking us to see what looks like dead dreams, dead hopes and aspirations, dead relationships… to see them rising. He is asking us to place our processes and our pains on His alter today, and time and again so that He can continually breathe life and health into them.

Sis, in His rising, Jesus is asking that we see ourselves rising. He is as much in us as we are in Him and His life is a template for ours. And we are victorious in Him always, sis. In Christ, even when it looks like you have lost an earthly battle… if you played it by this principle, you would have won a great heavenly war. Think through the Cross sis, and then think through your life. Think through whatever you are going through now, and then let the Holy Spirit minister grace and peace to you. As He does, allow Him infill you with the confidence and assurance that all is well and all will end well, the way that God has purposed it. Ask Him to help you understand where you don’t; ask Him to help you accept; ask Him to order your thinking; ask Him to help you gather your emotions; ask Him to shape your countenance; ask Him to grant you wise counsel; ask Him for discernment. Sis, ask Him to help you stay above and walk/decide/act/speak only in accordance to His will and express purpose in every situation. Ask Him to help you stay in alignment sis, that truly you may experience the flow of resurrection through every ‘station’ you might have to go through in any day and in every season. Ask Him sis, and watch Him roll away every stone and restore life in all its fullness.

The Lord will help you sis. I know this without a shadow of a doubt, because daily I see Him help me.

Be blessed sis… for you surely are!


  



1 comment:

  1. What I needed to hear! I usually would go back to older posts, but I did. Thank God I did. Perfectly timed! The Lord will continually help me that I'm very sure of.

    ReplyDelete

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About Me

Entrepreneur, Mentor, Wife, Mother, Sister, Friend. A firm believer in God. Walking in faith everyday that by His grace, I will achieve harmony in all areas of my life, and make measurable impact in the lives of other women of the world

WORD FOR THE WEEK

LUKE 1:

34“-How can this be, Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” 35The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the Holy One to be born will be called the Son of God

JEREMIAH 2:

5 Before I formed you in the womb I knew [and] approved of you [as My chosen instrument], and before you were born I separated and set you apart, consecrating you; [and] I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.

6 Then said I, Ah, Lord God! Behold, I cannot speak, for I am only a youth. 7 But the Lord said to me, Say not, I am only a youth; for you shall go to all to whom I shall send you, and whatever I command you, you shall speak.

8 Be not afraid of them [their faces], for I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord. 9 Then the Lord put forth His hand and touched my mouth. And the Lord said to me, Behold, I have put My words in your mouth. 10 See, I have this day appointed you to the oversight of the nations and of the kingdoms to root out and pull down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant.

1st CORINTHIANS 1:

25 [This is] because the foolish thing [that has its source in] God is wiser than men, and the weak thing [that springs] from God is stronger than men. 26 For [simply] consider your own call, brethren; not many [of you were considered to be] wise according to human estimates and standards, not many influential and powerful, not many of high and noble birth. 27 [No] for God selected (deliberately chose) what in the world is foolish to put the wise to shame, and what the world calls weak to put the strong to shame. 28 And God also selected (deliberately chose) what in the world is lowborn and insignificant and branded and treated with contempt, even the things that are nothing, that He might depose and bring to nothing the things that are,

Colossians 1:

28 Him we preach and proclaim, warning and admonishing everyone and instructing everyone in all wisdom (comprehensive insight into the ways and purposes of God), that we may present every person mature (full-grown, fully initiated, complete, and perfect) in Christ (the Anointed One).

29 For this I labor [[z]unto weariness], striving with all the superhuman energy which He so mightily enkindles and works within me.