Sunday, April 18, 2010

Of Barren Deserts, Red Seas, Sarah's Wombs, Lazarus Tombs and His Resurrection Power

Isaiah 54:1 (Amplified) "Sing, O barren one, you who did not bear; break forth into singing and cry aloud, you who did not travail with child! For the [spiritual] children of the desolate one will be more than the children of the married wife," says the Lord."
How many times have we stood and faced the barren deserts, Red Seas, Lazarus tomb or empty wombs of our lives? Lost dreams....lost children....lost health...lost relationships....wondering if our unfulfilled visions were from God, Himself, which seem as elusive as trying to catch dry dust swirling over desert sands....miles and miles of sand....miles and miles of dust....and we foot...then the other...."Lord, Thy will be done, on earth, in my life, through me, as it is in Heaven,"....and all the while, spitting the grit out of our dry mouth which eventually makes it way up our nose and down our windpipe...coating our mouth....and sticking to the roof of our mouth.
It seems almost incomprehensible in today's charismatic, electronic fast lane that God would leave us in a desert, wasteland situation for more than a minute, much less orchestrate the whole thing for His Purpose! Who dares to preach such a sermon today? Take him/her outside the camp and stone them! What a heretic! What a shameful blight upon the pentecostal/charismatic world to which we've become accustomed on TV and in our own communities.
It has become inconceivable that Our very God Who gave us His vision will allow the very death of it; seemingly to rub our faces in its death along the way. Isn't this what He did with the news of Lazarus? John 11:6 "So, when He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was.".....TWO MORE DAYS! Lazarus lay dying, and Jesus stayed two more days! How absurd! And Martha in so many words, told Him so....v. 21 "Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died."
What emotions do you think surged through Martha? If it were me, I'd be thinking, "Why did You allow this to happen? What is wrong with us/me that You healed everyone else, but when I sent word to You that Lazarus, Whom You love is dying, You don't come running, or command the sickness to leave him, but You waited....And now Lazarus is dead! TOTALLY STONE DEAD! In fact, he's now so dead, he stinks! His flesh has rotted off his body by now.
And so God allows it to happen...the death and humiliation of the very vision God gave us. Jesus hung bare naked and barren on the Cross, and in His barrenness and humiliation and total separation from God, hung the Hope of all time....the Hope for all eternity for the forgiveness of sins, reconciliation and restoration to God, Himself for all lost humanity who would accept Him and believe upon Him.
Miles of desert sand in our lives....heaped up along the road....symbolic of desert and death; yet it is in the desert where we truly find Him as we walk through the Valley of the Shadow of death. It is here where the Valley of Achor becomes The Door of Hope...and through it all, He takes the Baals from our mouth. (Hosea 2:14-17)
God took Esther through 12 months of preparation before He ultimately escorted her before the throne of the king...the inner chamber of his presence. For there is something about the desert and the stripping which removes the Baals from our mouths. Who do we quote most? Scripture or someone else? Who's name do we hear coming out of our own mouths? God's or someone else? God will allow the stripping.....God will do the stripping....And if we don't see Him allowing the work to be done...then we have not stopped to turn and see why the bush is burning and not being consumed....The potter's wheel....Tying our flesh to the horns of the altar so it won't crawl away....
What we need to comprehend is that it is God, Himself, in all His Glory and Splendor and Love, Who allows the total death and humiliation of a thing before He brings His resurrection power to it where He will get the total glory. For unless this thing can be verified as movement...and the flesh rotting off of it....and now it stinks....there can be no resurrection power.
For if there is no death, man/flesh will ultimately take the glory that he did something very spiritual to make this thing happen...."I fasted"...."I prayed three hours a day"....."I laid my hands on so and so and they got better."....."I went to this conference where so and so preached...and oh man!"....."I did this....I did that....and isn't it wonderful what I did?"......And we may or may not throw a morsel of praise in God's direction.
Yes, we're able to maneuver God in there someplace, but when that thing is put into Sarah's womb or the tomb of Lazarus, and it is so barren that there is no hope of life, or so dead that it stinks, then He will come and speak, "Lazarus, Come forth!" For then and only then is there Only One Reason; God Himself. It had nothing to do with the flesh of man - all our best intentions and formulas and best efforts to pray and fast fall flat on a gritty desert floor in the barrenness of Sarah's womb. And when that happens, we have a choice. We will either choose as Job's wife suggested that we curse God and die...or like Job, we'll profess that "Though He slay me; yet will I trust Him; yet will I praise Him; yet will I look unto Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of my faith." As for me and my house, we shall serve the Lord.
We see Martha, standing outside her brother's tomb, grieving....Jesus instructs them to remove the stone. Martha, in essence, questions Jesus' instructions and politely reminds Him that He's nuts..."Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days!" And Jesus turns to her, gently asking, "Did I not tell you that if you would believe, you would see the glory of God?"
Oh, it is difficult to accept that God allows death and humiliation to a thing, purpose or plan before he can bring His resurrection power to it. For resurrection power to be visible to raise that thing, there must be total, complete, irreversible death by any other means...other than His Spirit. Dead is D-E-A-D....Dead. No hope in anything, but God. Jesus, Who walks with us through the Valley of the Shadow of Death....showing us that He is The Way....He is The Door of Hope.
He Who hung on the Cross for us in abject totally, naked humiliation before all humanity, spirits and creation....allowed humiliation to nail Him to the Cross. As a result, it is His resurrection power, the power which raised Jesus from the dead, that He sends today by His Spirit to bring His Glory to our own personal barren wombs and the Lazarus tombs of society.
Jesus never told Lazarus that he had to have faith. No. He told Martha that if she would believe, she would see the Glory of God....and Lazarus walked out of that tomb...a whole man!
Do we truly have the stomach for that kind of move of God? Do we have the spiritual stomach to watch Him allow death to that thing and then stand there as Martha and hear Him encourage us that if we believe that we'll see His Glory? Do we have the intestinal fortitude to persevere through the desert? Can we look upon Him who had absolutely no comeliness in His lifeless, naked humiliation and see His resurrection power?
For I tell you the truth, it is far easier to get people to co-labor with a program than an impossibility of God, because impossibilities have death and failure written all over them and there are not too many who have the spiritual or emotional stomach for that kind of thing anymore despite our well-meaning intentions and filthy self-righteous rags.
Do we have the stomach to look unto the societal vagrants and misfits and see Jesus, Himself? Can we look at the demented, with slimy drool pooling on their stained sweatshirts and see Jesus? (For whatever we do unto those least esteemed by society we have done unto Him.) Can we understand that that which is uncomely and uninviting and putrid and humiliating is the very place to which He calls us to find Him?
For this is the exact place where we shall see His Glory and resurrection power....It is His promise...that out of the barrenness shall flow His multiplication....His Glory....
O that our hearts would cry out as the Apostle Paul as recorded in Philippians 2:8-10 (Amplified)
v. 8 "Yes, furthermore, I count everything as loss compared to the possession of the priceless privilege (the overwhelming preciousness, the surpassing worth, and supreme advantage) of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, and of progressively becoming more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him [of perceiving and recognizing and understanding Him more fully and clearly'. For His sake I have lost everything and consider it all to be mere rubbish (refuse, dregs), in order that I may win (gain) Christ (the Anointed One).
v. 9 And that I may [actually] be found and known as in Him, not having any [self-achieved] righteousness that can be called my own, based on my obedience to the Law's demands (ritualistic uprightness and supposed right standing with God thus acquired), but possessing that {genuine righteousness] which comes through faith in Christ (the Anointed One), the [truly] right standing with God, which comes from God by [saving] faith.
v. 10 [For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of Hies Person more strongly and more clearly], and that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection [which it exerts over believers], and that I may so share His sufferings as to be continually transformed [in spirit into His likeness even] to His death...."
1. "Have Thine own way, Lord!
Have Thine own way!
Thou art the Potter;
I am the clay
Mould me and make me
After Thy will,
While I am waiting,
Yielded and still."
4. "Have Thine own way, Lord!
Have Thine own way!
Hold o'er my being
Absolute sway!
Fill with Thy Spirit
Till all shall see
Christ only, always,
Living in me!"
Geo. C. Stebbins
Crista M. Simmons

Welcome ~

The purpose of this blog is to encourage our walk in Christ; together in Him; for as we develop our relationship with the Lord, we ARE more than conquerors through Christ Jesus! Praise God! My writings are mostly from an experiential standpoint; however sometimes this includes dreams and visions. (Comments are reviewed prior to posting.)