My desire is to proclaim the truth of God's Word, encourage growth in Jesus and His Word, and inspire you to tell others about Him through Authentic Christian Living. It is my hope and prayer that this page will be a blessing to you and others. If you are growing from what you read on here please tell others and encourage them in the Lord! All we want to do is spread the gospel that others may go and grow! Stay focused, you can do this.
"In His JOY!".
Lazarus was Jesus friend. We do not know how close they were but the Word makes it clear that Jesus loved Lazarus as well his sisters Martha and Mary (John 11:5). Lazarus seemed to live a good life and his relationship with Jesus did not cause a stir among the Jews. The Pharisees seemed to have no quarrel with Lazarus. Because if they did, the professional mourners would not have shown up for the funereal. Instead the mockers would have attended and celebrated Lazarus' death with laughter.
Jesus loved Lazarus so much that He let Lazarus die....wait what? Jesus let His friend, who He loved die. And not only did He let Him die but He took His sweet precious time to go help (John 11:6). And His only reason was "It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it (John 11:4)". Is this how Jesus treats His friends? Yep, He uses His friends to bring God glory even if it costs them their lives.
But what was the purpose of the death and resurrection of Lazarus? It caused a division in the community. It also revealed everyone's heart. Some of the Jews became believers (John 11:45) while others saw it as a threat to their control over the people and resolved to kill Jesus (John 11:48,53).
It does not end there, more and more people began to believe on the account of Lazarus. And this lead to a plot to kill Lazarus (John 12:9-11).
This story is a parallel to the lives of disciples of Christ. When we are a friend of the Lord we are truly an enemy of the world. They consider us their enemy only because our lives help bring others to Christ and that is in direct opposition to the plan of the enemy. The enemy is here only to steal, kill, and destroy but we are here being used by God to lead the lost to Christ that they may live an abundant life in Jesus (John 10:10). The devil is so opposed to the message of the Gospel that he desires to take our life because he is a murder, he desires to spread lies to unbelievers because he is a liar and wants to suppress the truth (John 8:44, 2 Corinthians 4:3-4). But the message of the Gospel is so important that God is willing to let us die so others may believe, Lazarus is the perfect example.
We all need to understand that the goal of persecution is our death. But the Goal of God is for the lost to accept Him and believe in Him even if it means our death. But we rejoice because if we live die it is to our gain (we will be in Heaven) but if we live we have more opportunity to share the Gospel (Philippians 1:12,21). Regardless of the outcome we know that God will take care of those He loves and He is willing to let us experience loss of life it means that others will see it and come to know Him. Stay focused, you can do this.
Read The Word, Share The Gospel, Stay Accountable.
There are people in my life who have worked away from the Lord and want nothing to do with Him. When I talked with them they even to me "Christianity is dead, I'm never coming back so drop it." I have had others in my life who just got caught up in sin and lost their way. Who do I chase after? Who do I pursue with great diligence and pray for without ceasing?
The Word talks about the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32. The son demanded his father give him the inheritance that is his and left. The father did not chase after his son, the parable gives no mention that he spent countless nights looking for him. His father knew where his son was and what his intentions are. His son wanted to go far away from his father for whatever reason. The father must have known his son would "come to himself (Luke 15:17)" His father knew his son would return and he waited patiently for him. Looking forward to the day when his son would come back and his father would run to him, embracing him. Those who choose to walk away from Lord and show no care to come back, break off all contact, and say "Just leave me alone", we have to let them go. There are no words we can see and things we can offer that will bring them back. The must "come to themselves" and discover they are strangers in a strange land in need of Jesus. In other words we need to step back and allow God to bring them home. But our hope for their return never dies, our love from them will remain unwavering, and we stand ready to embrace.
The Word also talks of those who wander away in Luke 15:1-7. The lost sheep talks of those who are lost or aimlessly wandering. They really cannot tell how they have sunk so deep in their sin or even where it all began all they know is they are lost. They are looking for a way back, trying to find the road that leads to Christ, or just looking for a way out of their mess. The Good Shepard searches for them, pursue them, won't relent until He has them in His care, and rejoices with all when they are found. These are the people we pursue with all diligence. These are the people that we will not give up and will not surrender to the enemy. Because these people want to come to know Christ and crave direction. These are the people we spend endless nights and countless days showing and teaching Christ too.
What I enJOY! about both parables is how they have one theme in common. In each one someone heads in the wrong direction, they both return home, and all rejoice. I promise you this friend, whomever is the prodigal in your life trust that God will allow them to "come to themselves" and that they will return. Whomever is the lost sheep in your life trust that your effort to bring them to Jesus will meet a glorious end. And trust that whether you live to see them return or not, one day you will REJOICE!