Resurrection Power!

When the food in our refrigerators or kitchen cabinets is passed its expiration date, most of us will throw it out. We don’t think twice about it. Nor do we think too much about the expiration date until it dawns on us that maybe we’ve held on to something too long. The expiration date is an indication that holding on to stuff can cause harm. Having this date in small letters stamped on jars and labels is something many folks take for granted, but we should be thankful because these little dates are quite useful. Good health is a very wonderful thing to have, and we need all the help we can get to preserve it. So, those simple but useful expiration dates can be the difference between spending a day enjoying life or spending it doubled over with nausea, stomach cramps, or worse.  Many of us have been there and done that, and don’t want to do it again. It ain’t fun, and if we’re wise, when something is past its expiration date, we’ll throw the old stuff out because we understand that it’s harmful to our health and overall well-being.

It’s no secret that there are a lot of things in our lives that aren’t stamped, but they very definitely have passed their expiration date, and many of us have ignored it. There are relationships for instance, there are also people, attitudes, behaviors, and lots of other situations that we’re allowing to hang around way past their shelf life. We don’t often recognize how harmful they are to us until it’s too late. Why do we do it? Why do we allow things to remain a part of our lives when it’s pretty clear they’re driving us further away from God and the life He wants us to have? One of the reasons might be that we’re not convinced that if we let the wrong things go, the right ones will show up.

Not only does this fear come to the surface when it involves relationships and people, but it pops up in the behaviors and attitudes we hold as well. In fact, fear cleverly hides away in our thoughts and attitudes, and it gets fuel from our behaviors and deeds. God has given us instruction in His Word for handling this. Through the Apostle Paul, He tells us in Ephesians 4:22-24 (NLT), “Throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.” People these days don’t like hearing about the ‘old sinful nature’. Many preachers don’t talk about it because folks get angry when they’re confronted with their sin. They like the nice flowery stuff, but God’s truth and standard is the greatest treasure of anything in existence, and He wants us to throw out the stuff that is past its expiration date and isn’t good for His plan for our lives.

The stuff that’s past its expiration date is the stuff that Jesus Christ nailed to the cross. The gossiping, backbiting, jealousy, resentment, rage, arrogance, lying, cheating, and all the other heavies that harden our hearts and keep our souls weighted down. Some of the people that have attached themselves to us are feeding off this old nature part of us. They have no interest in spiritually growing in Christ themselves and feel most comfortable when we’re turning our backs on it as well.

2Corinthians 5:17(NLT) tells us “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” Our time on earth is the only opportunity that we will have to make an extremely consequential choice. Either we will remain blind and continue to indulge those things that hold us back, or we will embrace the new person we were created to be. It’s up to us to realize that the old life is gone, and to stop reaching back to old dead things that are way past their expiration date.

As the time approaches to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, we must remember that he gave his life on the cross so that we could be made whole through his love. He took all our sins upon himself and paid the price we could not pay. 1John 4:10(NLT) says, “This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.” Our precious Lord and Savior got up from the grave with all power in his hands, and all the suffering and sin was left behind. That’s where we should leave it.

Often the suffering and discomfort that we experience in life is because we haven’t left the old stuff behind. We’re trying to make it come alive again, and that’s not a workable strategy. Our Heavenly Father has told us what works for a life made brand new. It is to throw off the old sinful nature and all its cousins. Then, we are to make our minds new by flooding them with God’s Word. As we celebrate the resurrection power of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, let’s remember that God has given us a fresh start, and we ought to take it.■

Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

“Resurrection Power!”, written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2021. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Spirt-Soul-Body Connected

I remember the first time I heard Janet Thompson say that she was saved. We were sitting in third period Math class, and she sat in the desk in front of me. Everyone knew that something about her had changed. Janet’s mother was an entrepreneur when it wasn’t all that common for a woman to be one. She sold cosmetics and jewelry. Janet and her two older sisters were notorious in school for having extremely long, beautifully manicured nails; adorned, no less, with two or three rings on each hand. It wasn’t the real stuff, but pretty just the same. They loved their jewelry, so when Janet came to class without any on, and no makeup, everyone took notice.

After three or four days without her usual embellishments, one of my classmates asked Janet if she had gotten saved. She responded, “Yes, I got saved.” I had been in church all my young life. Being born-again I knew, but ‘saved’ meant something different at that time. At fourteen, I had learned to do what I saw a lot of other people do. I had learned to compartmentalize. I placed my faith in one compartment, and pulled it out on Sunday’s. I put the rest of my life in a compartment that allowed me to pretty much do as I pleased the rest of the week. I always had a certain sense of do-rightness, and I didn’t stray too far from it, but on the occasions when I did, I felt that God would give me a pass. To be honest, I just didn’t think that He was concerned about small details.

We all have those awakening moments in life that call us to a higher level of consciousness, most of them brief and far between. They serve as markers, and measure how synchronized we are to the destiny God has called us to. My sisters and I had never missed Sunday School, so I knew about the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. I didn’t quite understand it, but the knowledge that he gave his life for us was etched in my mind. However, that he would require anything from me, or anyone for that matter, was foreign to my thinking. So, the visual of Janet’s sacrifice coupled with her confession, “I got saved”, rattled my senses.

Why was she giving up something she loved in order to be saved? This is a question facing many people that are in abusive relationships. Saved and born-again are synonymous, but Janet’s willingness to let go of something in order to gain something greater resonates with me to this day. Her example changed the trajectory of my life. It spoke to my higher self, and planted a seed that would lift me out of forgetfulness and cause me to remember a love that never hurts, never condemns, and never fails. The love of Christ is our rescue. Some of us learn this quicker than others, but it took me quite a while to learn that a love that is real and true never hurts.

1Thessalonians 5:23 (NLT) tells us, “Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again.” In this verse, Heavenly Father informs us that He is a God of peace, and He wants to make us holy in every way. He also gives us another very important piece of knowledge when He tells us that there are three parts to our total being; spirit, soul, and body.

In Genesis 1:26 (NLT), He lets us in on the dialogue that He’s having with His Son and the Holy Spirit. He said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.” Heavenly Father created us in His image. The Godhead is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; three persons, three functions, one God. He created us to be three parts as well, spirit, soul, and body.

When Jesus Christ was in the earth, one of the Holy Spirit’s functions was that of helping Christ stay connected to the Father. This is how Christ, as a human being, was constantly infused with power and received communication from on High. The Holy Spirit helped Jesus Christ to accomplish the mission that God appointed him to carry out. The Holy Spirit helps us in this same way. John 3:6 tells us that the Holy Spirit gives birth to our spiritual lives. Through the Spirit, God endows us with power, strength, and ability.

Our souls house our minds and hearts. Our souls allow us to respond to God and to one another. They also receive information from the Spirit. Your body is a house. It is the temple that God calls ‘home’. 1Corinthians 6:19(NLT) tells us, “Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself,” So the Holy Spirit and our human spirit are constantly communing and communicating, and our human spirit gives the soul this information when the soul will allow it.  We can receive spiritual information in a way that will guide us in our choices and decisions and help us remain spiritually fortified. This is an incredibly precious and powerful connection, and God has given it to help us live the life of peace and love that He wants us to have.

Jesus Christ doesn’t require us to give up things that benefit us. It delights the Father to see us looking and feeling good, but the more we grow in Him, the more we will want to surrender the things that injure our souls and keep us from responding to the Father with faith, joy, and gratitude. The more we love ourselves through Christ, the more eager and ready we are to release anything that blocks the soul from receiving and giving out a Christ kind of love. It is a journey that we can begin at any time. The important thing is that we understand how overcrowded our souls become with internal and external noise. We need to make space for the love of God through Jesus Christ, and we can do it by getting quiet in prayer with the intention to perceive and receive what we need from the Spirit. ■

New Living Translation (NLT)
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Spirt-Soul-Body Connected” written by Fran for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2017. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!