Don’t go to mourn, go to the Lord

John 11:28-33 (NIV)

After she (Martha) had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. “The Teacher is here,” she said, “and is asking for you.” When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him. Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there.
When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

Mary knew what she had to do. When she was in her deepest time of need she went straight to Jesus as quickly as she could. Those around her assumed she was going to the tomb to mourn. But amidst her doubt and sorrow, Mary went to Jesus, the source of comfort and hope.

Isn’t it interesting that whenever we are in a crisis situation, those around us decide that we must need to mourn.
They almost write us off as having to visit the tomb, visit the place of death, the place where our loss is buried. They assume that it’s normal to revisit your troubles over and over.

If things haven’t turned out the way you had planned, God has a better plan! The enemy wants us to stay in a place of mourning. But instead of heading toward death, we need to go after Life, the ultimate Light Source, Jesus Christ. He is available to meet us at our point of need and raise all our promises and desires from the dead.

Don’t sell your testimony to the devil

Matthew 28:11-15 (NIV)
‘While the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened. When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, telling them, ‘You are to say, “His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.” If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.’ So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day.’

These soldiers had witnessed for themselves what had occurred since they had sealed the tomb and had been guarding it during the night. They knew in detail the miraculous events that took place with the earthquake, from Jesus’ bodily resurrection to the appearing of the mighty angel who rolled the stone away.

Verse 4 tells us of their reaction saying, ‘they shook and became like dead men’, shocked from the magnitude of their encounter. While they were firsthand witnesses to the dramatic experience, how is it that they were able to take a bribe to make up a story and lie about what really happened? Was it greed, fear of the authorities or simply blatant betrayal of the Messiah?

Who knows the reason for their dishonesty, but nevertheless we must learn from their mistake and not be unfaithful to the testimony and the firsthand witness of what Jesus has done for us.

The miracles that we have encountered must be spoken out in truth. It is easy to keep silent about all that God has done because we fear persecution or perhaps the damaging of our reputation. Don’t settle for selling your precious testimony to the devil. Be bold and speak it out.

Start in your own town

Matthew 10:5-8 (MSG)
‘Jesus sent his twelve harvest hands out with this charge: “Don’t begin by travelling to some far-off place to convert unbelievers. And don’t try to be dramatic by tackling some public enemy. Go to the lost, confused people right here in the neighbourhood. Tell them that the kingdom is here. Bring health to the sick. Raise the dead. Touch the untouchables. Kick out the demons. You have been treated generously, so live generously.’

Why do we insist that we need to travel and go on some sort of mission trip to share the Gospel message? While this might be a good experience, Jesus is advising us here that this is not always necessary and that we would actually do better to begin by reaching the lost right in our very own town. How simple. So uncomplicated in fact, that this sort of concept gets overlooked by many.

You have been divinely positioned and appointed in this generation to impact the community where God has placed you right here, right now.

One key to being relevant to the people you wish to impact is to understand the culture and ideas of that community. What better place to reach with the Gospel of the Kingdom, than the neighbourhood we grew up in or are currently engaged in right now?

People of similar passions and interests, your circle of friends and the connections that are already established in your life are exactly who God is calling you to.

When you understand this the Holy Spirit can capture their attention by giving you key revelations that will enable you to make the gospel relevant to them. So don’t try to be someone else or fit into another culture. Simply engage in your local area with the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit and watch the harvest come your way.

A practice match

Judges 3:1-2 NIV ‘These are the nations the Lord left to test all those Israelites who had not experienced any of the wars in Canaan (he did this only to teach warfare to the descendants of the Israelites who had not had previous battle experience).

Most of the older generation of Israelites had seen God come through and defeat their enemy time and time again.

But this time God deliberately left some nations in the land so that the new descendents of the Israelites could practice their battles and gain experience in spiritual warfare. God knew that they needed exposure to these enemies to prepare them for what was ahead.

God also wants to train us for battle by giving us a rehearsal. By overcoming these spiritual principalities and powers, we are practicing for bigger ones to come.

This preparation is healthy for us and ensures we will trust God in bigger challenges.
Make sure you qualify for stronger invasion, by conquering the ones you face now.

Don’t wait until you’re in trouble

Job 35:9-10 Msg
‘When times get bad, people cry out for help. They cry for relief from being kicked around, But never give God a thought when things go well, when God puts spontaneous songs in their hearts’

It is so easy to cry out to God when you are in a difficult and desperate time or season in your life. Like Job you may be coming up against some seemingly impossible circumstances that you can’t find relief from. When you are being pressed on every side, you reach out to Him in faith because all too often that is your last resort.

But we must also be completely reliant upon Him when all is well and our palace season is ever so sweet. We need to continually praise Him when our finances are in order, the kids play happily and our marriage relationship is blossoming by showing Him that we are grateful for what He has done in our life.

Even if you are in this mountaintop season, remember Him. Expect greater levels of influence for the Kingdom of God and the full release of your heavenly inheritance as the favour of God is poured out in unprecedented levels.

Don’t become independent at this point by ceasing your praise. Are you going to wait for troubled times to hit again? No, this is not the place to stop advancing forward. It is the time to seek His face.

“When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God.” Deuteronomy 8:10-11

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