Tag Archives: life

Perspective Through Troubling Days

Let the story of Lazarus challenge and encourage your faith during troubling days.

Lazarus, a close friend of Jesus, got sick and died. We read about this in John 11. Knowing Jesus well did not exempt Lazarus or his two sisters, Mary and Martha, from life’s griefs and sorrows. Nor does it exempt any of us.

As soon as Lazarus’ illness became life threatening, Mary and Martha sent for Jesus, expecting Him to immediately show up and heal His good friend. But one, two, three days had passed since he was laid in a tomb, and Jesus, the Great Physician, remained absent.

Only on the fourth day, did Jesus appear. Both Mary and Martha became distraught and said to Him, “If you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

When we read the narrative further, we discover that Jesus had bigger things in mind than another healing. “I am the resurrection and the life,” He said. “He who believes in me will live, even if he dies.” Then he did what they did not expect—He raised Lazarus from the dead.

Jesus’ resurrection of Lazarus from death prepared the way for His own resurrection, just days away, and the total defeat and humiliation of Satan, ending the power of death by which Satan kept us all in bondage.

None of this was on Mary’s and Martha’s minds. All they saw was what happened to their brother. They did not see the big picture. They counted themselves as good friends of Jesus (and they were), but they did not know Him as well as they thought they did. Jesus was moving them to trust Him in ways they never trusted Him before.

Jesus wanted Mary and Martha (and us) to trust Him for greater things beyond their (and our) present experience. Their faith (and ours) increases only when faith is enlarged through various trials. When Lazarus died, Mary and Martha stepped into unknown territory. Would they still trust Jesus when they reached the end of their comfort zones? Or was their faith (and ours) only a “fair weather” faith? Mary and Martha let their trial prepare them for God’s bigger purpose.

At this writing, we continue to live in troubling days. For many of us, it is a time when we are all well outside our comfort zones. Things seem to be getting worse, not better. For some of us, evil and death seem to have the upper hand. Many of us wonder—why is God taking so long to do something?

God always seems to take longer than we prefer, but He always works from a standpoint of love, relationship and faith. It is better to know that Jesus has power over death, not just that He can heal the living. He is getting us ready now for that greater thing.

Jesus is the same today as He was 2,000 years ago when He allowed Lazarus to lie for four days putrefying in a tomb. We may have ideas of what He should do now and become impatient when He doesn’t meet our timetables. But He always has more in mind than we do.

He who brought life to Lazarus will bring life to lost and dying men, women and children from every corner of India and the world. He will deliver them out of every form of spiritual and physical bondage and death.

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The Source of Light

Lloyd Ogilvie, pastor and one-time Chaplain of the U.S. Senate, originally came from Scotland. One evening, he was walking outside without a flashlight. It grew dark. He tripped on a rock and fell down. He put his hand forward to push himself up and felt—nothing.

Sensing danger, he stayed where he was until the dawn revealed himself at the edge of a ravine. One more step, and he would have fallen to his death. Light can make the difference between life and death.

“Thy Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path,” wrote the Psalmist. Maybe he had an experience like Lloyd Ogilvie’s, and it taught him deeper truths. Jesus Christ is the Word, we read in John 1. In John 8, Jesus also says, “I am the Light of the World.”

In what ways is Jesus the Light? He tells us in chapter 8:
• He comes from the Father (God).
• He speaks with the authority of the Father (God).
• He is going to the Father (God).
• He does nothing on His own, but everything comes from the Father (God).

Everything Jesus is and does He owes to God the Father, the One who knows us before creation, who knows each hair on our heads, who makes a way where there is no way, who keeps all His promises, who overcomes evil in our lives with good.

To me, this sounds like light in a dark world. What other person can rightfully dare to make such claims? What other person can claim a healing ministry like that of Jesus? What other person has overcome death like Jesus? What other person has transformed lives like Jesus? What other person answers prayers like Jesus?

Who else has promised to destroy the works of the devil? So many people in India can claim deliverance from the satanic possession and oppression, from addictions and strongholds when they put their trust in Jesus Christ. He intends to deliver the whole world from this darkness.

As the Light of the World, Jesus is not just a local deity. He is not a western god, or an eastern god, but God of the world. He is King of kings and Lord of lords. He is for every time and place.

But Jesus does not just want us to know Him as the Light of the World, but to experience Him as the Light in our own lives. That means we must follow Him, not as an idea or teaching, but as a Person. He wants us to relate to Him as His original disciples related to Him—as friends.

Jesus revealed to His disciples things about themselves they did not especially want to hear. He did this, not to tear them down but to help them fulfill their human natures. He enabled them to become more human, not less. He enabled them to do great and mighty things that resonate in our own day. He wants to do the same in and through you and me.

Jesus came not as a light but as the Light—the Light comes from the very one who made us and for whom we were made.

As we remember His sacrificial death and resurrection this month, let us bear His Light into a darkened world waiting for the Light.

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