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Reflections - Power Over Death
Prayer-Soldier - Sat Apr 09, 2011 11:04 am
Post subject: Power Over Death
Therefore, prophesy and say to them: Thus says the Lord GOD: O my people, I will open your graves and have you rise from them, and bring you back to the land of Israel. Then you shall know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves and have you rise from them, O my people! I will put my spirit in you that you may live, and I will settle you upon your land; thus you shall know that I am the LORD. I have promised, and I will do it, says the LORD. (Ezekial 37:12-14)
Through the promise of the Lord, death will be conquered so that though we die, we will rise again. For what purpose do we live under the sun if it is only to scrape the earth for a few years, then, return to its dust? We may turn the soil, gather its fruits and build great amounts of wealth, but, it means nothing for with one wave of the hand of God, all may be taken from us, even our very lives.
Though man may build, nothing of which man may do can stand forever without the blessing of God. The toils of men are gone in relative minuscule moments, the blink of an eye within eternity. No empire can escape falling to dust unless its life is preserved by the Lord.
Whatever we build for ourselves in this world will remain in this world, but whatever we build for ourselves in the spirit will flow with the soul to the next. Men seek the glitter of gold and gems, but other than a momentary pleasure to the eye, they are of no value as food for the spirit. The purest food for the soul is love; the most nourishing is the love of God. Through the Holy Spirit we are fed, but we may only be fed if we invite the Spirit within us, for if we ignore it, we keep it outside of our soul, our soul will most surely fall into the darkness.
The concern of the flesh is death, but the concern of the spirit is life and peace. For the concern of the flesh is hostility toward God; it does not submit to the law of God, nor can it; and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh; on the contrary, you are in the spirit, if only the Spirit of God dwells in you. Whoever does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the spirit is alive because of righteousness. If the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, the one who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also, through his Spirit that dwells in you. (Romans 8:6-11)
God created us in body and soul. As we walk in this world, we live in and tend to the body, but what do we do to care for our soul? We cannot ignore the body if we are to fulfill the purpose for which God created us, but we must remember that what is of this world will pass away. It is our soul which will carry us to eternal life; therefore, as we care for our bodies, we should be even more concerned for our soul.
It is the flesh which makes us weak. Through the sin of the flesh, we also weaken the soul. Strength for the soul cannot come from the flesh, it is only possible to care for the soul through the strength of the Spirit which was sent to us by the One who is in the Father so that as the Spirit is in us, we are in Him as He is in the Father. It is through the Spirit, then, that we become a part of the body of Christ and; therefore, become one with the Son and the Father.
Now a man was ill, Lazarus from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. Mary was the one who had anointed the Lord with perfumed oil and dried his feet with her hair; it was her brother Lazarus who was ill. So the sisters sent word to him, saying, “Master, the one you love is ill.” When Jesus heard this he said, “This illness is not to end in death, but is for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”
Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when he heard that he was ill, he remained for two days in the place where he was. Then after this he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.” The disciples said to him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just trying to stone you, and you want to go back there?”
Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours in a day? If one walks during the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. But if one walks at night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.” He said this, and then told them, “Our friend Lazarus is asleep, but I am going to awaken him.” So the disciples said to him, “Master, if he is asleep, he will be saved.”
But Jesus was talking about his death, while they thought that he meant ordinary sleep. So then Jesus said to them clearly, “Lazarus has died. And I am glad for you that I was not there, that you may believe. Let us go to him.” So Thomas, called Didymus, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go to die with him.” When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days.
Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, only about two miles away. And many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them about their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went to meet him; but Mary sat at home. Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. (But) even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you.”
Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise.” Martha said to him, “I know he will rise, in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world.”
When she had said this, she went and called her sister Mary secretly, saying, “The teacher is here and is asking for you.” As soon as she heard this, she rose quickly and went to him. For Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was still where Martha had met him. So when the Jews who were with her in the house comforting her saw Mary get up quickly and go out, they followed her, presuming that she was going to the tomb to weep there.
When Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus saw her weeping and the Jews who had come with her weeping, he became perturbed and deeply troubled, and said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Sir, come and see.” And Jesus wept.
So the Jews said, “See how he loved him.” But some of them said, “Could not the one who opened the eyes of the blind man have done something so that this man would not have died?” So Jesus, perturbed again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay across it. Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the deam man, said to him, “Lord, by now there will be a stench; he has been dead for four days.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believe you will see the glory of God?”
So they took away the stone. And Jesus raised his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you for hearing me. I know that you always hear me; but because of the crowd here I have said this, that they may believe that you sent me.” And when he had said this, he cried out in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, tied hand and foot with burial bands, and his face was wrapped in a cloth. So Jesus said to them, “Untie him and let him go.” Now many of the Jews who had come to Mary and seen what he had done began to believe in him. (John 11:1-45)
In the story of Lazarus, we see calamity had befallen a family. A loved one had passed away. Sorrow grew in hearts and tears filled eyes. A message was sent, but the One to which the message was delivered did not come right away. It was possible for Jesus to heal from wherever He was, but, such an answer was not provided. Instead, He journeyed to those in sorrow so that the purpose of God might be fulfilled.
Those who grieved knew of the great power of the One they believed to be the Messiah. They believed the hand of Jesus could heal their loved one, but the Messiah did not come in time and illness led to death. In their sorrow, they weeped; they believed that the One who performed miracles could have prevented the death of their loved one, but they did not understand why He did not come to their aid. They did not comprehend that He might also have power to reverse death itself, though one believed, “even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you.”
If we are to have life after death, then, the One who created us must have the power to conquer death and restore life to those who will die, for all must die from this world before they may have life in the next. The answer the faithful sought was for the healing of the one who was sick. Death is so final. It removes all motion. For those who only believe what they see in this world cannot comprehend what lies beyond it. They did not expect that their loved one would die, but hoped he would be healed and saved from death. The Lord did not deliver to them what they expected when they expected it, but He responded in His time with what they needed so that the greater good would come, so that they might believe.
He told us that where two or more are gathered together, for what we ask will be granted to us. Through prayer we may petition the Lord and our prayers will be answered, but the answer may not be exactly as we expect or when we expect it, rather it will be what we need for the greater good to come and when we need it most. He knows what we need before we need it, but in prayer, we reveal what we know of what we need. Our needs are not the riches of this world, but the wealth of love; for it is love which will nourish the soul, it is love to which we are called; love of God and one another; for if love fills our heart, evil has no place to grow.
He has shown us the greatest love, for God so loved the world that he gave us His only begotten Son so that through the life laid down for us in sacrifice for our sins and the resurrection which conquered death, all who might believe in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life. If our soul is weak because we starve it with sin and evil, love will not be in us. Without love, evil will consume us; therefore, our belief will flounder and fall to evil rather than rise to the everlasting love of God.
Let us not close the door to the love which may be fed to us through the Holy Spirit. Let us pray that the Holy Spirit will fill us; and as it does, may the light of the Lord shine through us so that we may offer the nourishment of love to the souls of others, for as we give love, it grows so much stronger within us.
May the peace and blessings of the Lord be with you always,
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