A Grave Rescue
by Faizah Imani
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Scripture Reference John 11:1-44
Mary, Martha, and Lazarus were very dear to Jesus. He loved them with all of his heart. They in return loved Jesus very dearly. When Mary and Martha's brother, Lazarus, was sick, they sent a messenger to let Jesus know that "He whom you love is sick."
Jesus, being the cool, calm and collected person that he is basically responded, I know Lazarus is sick and that things may not look too good right now, but I got this thing under control. "This sickness is not unto death." Lazarus is not sick because it is time for him to die... Lazarus is sick and lying on what some would call his death bed right now because the enemy is trying to take him out. And sometimes God will allow satan to mess with us so that he can see where our faith lies. Look at Job. He went through some of the same things. But know this---Satan can only do what God ALLOWS him to do and when God says, "Enough. Take your hands off of my child." You better believe that it's already done. God will wait until others have given up on you. He will wait until you are so far in trouble that when he delivers you, you won't have a doubt in your mind that it was God that brought you out. God is going to get the glory. And he doesn't want to receive glory because he has an identity crisis or anything. God is going to get the glory so that others will come to you and inquire about how they can get to know your glorious God. Yes--it is for the benefit of his kingdom.
Now, you might be asking yourself, "Why didn't Jesus go and heal his friend Lazarus. How can Jesus be glorified by allowing a man to lie on his death bed?" Some of you might even be asking God why you are going through what you are going through right now, or why you are where you are today..." God's answer is "So that I may be glorified."
Although God will send each of his children through a season of testing, he will never cause anything to harm his children. God wants us be be healed and free from pain, whether it be physical pain or spiritual pain. But the devil's specialty is inflicting pain on the children of God. And sometimes, God will let him have his way for a little while, not because he wants to punish us, he's not that kind of God. He allows it so that he may be glorifed.
The bible says in Luke 22:31-32 that Jesus was speaking to his disciples and said, "Simon, Simon, Indeed satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat, but I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to me, strenghten your brethren.
God takes all of the hell that the devil has put you through and turns it around and uses it for your good. And not just for your good, but for the benefit of his kingdom. That thing that he has delivered you from becomes your ministry. Because after God has reached down and grabbed you by the hand and pulled you out of all of the mess that you were in, he wants you to go and tell others how he delivered you. How he brought you out.
The bible says that "they overcame him (the devil) by the blood of the lamb and by the word of their testimony." God turns your test into a testimony. And he will do it every time, as long as you believe he can. It's faith that moves God. And faith alone. And every second that you spend doubting God is a second that he is unable to move and work on your behalf. And thats another reason the devil tries to plant doubt in our hearts and minds. The devil knows that in the heavenlies, the victory has already been won for you. He knows that you will eventually get your deliverance if you just hold to God's unchanging hand, believing that He is God all by Himself. And that His word will not--can not return to him void.
Does God feel our pain when we are experiencing trials and tribulations? Yes. The bible says that Jesus cried when they told him that Lararus had died. Jesus felt in his spirit the pain that Lararus's sisters felt--knowing that their brother had died.
Jesus cries for you too. He feels your pain. And not only does he FEEL your pain...He KNOWS your pain first hand. Remember it was He that came down and died a cruel, cruel, death on the cross for you and for me.
Is it easy when you are stuck in the quicksands of life? No. Noone ever said it would be easy. But in the midst of your crisis, you can rest in the peace of knowing that you have a living savior who has conquered death, hell and the grave. He is the master Deliverer. And he is walking with you with all power in the palms of his hands. Just knowing that alone will give you a peace that surpassess all understanding or comprehension. You have a joy that comes from within that the world can never take away from you.
You might be dead broke right now and wondering where your next dime, or next meal is going to come from. You might have just lost your job and you're wondering how you're going to find another one to provide for your family. Whatever the situation, "This sickness is not unto death." You're not going to die here in this place. God has something better for you and it will come to pass as long as you believe it will. He is more than willing and more than able to carry you through. And if you just STAND on his Word and have faith in his word, you will make it through.
When Jesus finally got to the place where they had buried Lazarus, he had been dead for four days. His body had started to smell. But Jesus was not moved by the smell of the dead man's body.
Sometimes you can be in a situation for so long that it starts to stink to the others around you. They don't want to be bothered with you. They turn their backs on you. You find yourself all alone, in a stinky situation, with noone to talk to. But Jesus is there for you. He wants you to talk to him. The stench doesn't bother him. He's been there in the grave before--remember. God does not operate on our time. Sometimes he will let the stench get unbearable so that he can bring you forth smelling like roses. He'll bring you out of the fire, without even the smell of smoke being on you!!
Lazarus's own sisters did not want to roll the stone away from their own brother's grave because of the odor. You may have some family members who have given up on you too. Maybe they said you would never be anything. That you will never amount to much... But God.... Hallejuah!! But God is about to get the glory. God is bringing you out.
Jesus had to tell Martha, Look, I have already told you that if you would just BELIEVE--you would see the glory of God.
They proceeded to roll the stone away from Lazarus's grave. Jesus could have easily THOUGHT Larazus out of his grave if He had wanted to because He is just that powerful. He didn't have to say a word if He didn't want to...
But for the benefit of those who didn't believe, Jesus CALLED Lazarus out of the Grave, "Lazarus come forth!" And Lararus IMMEDIATEDLY came out of his grave bound hand and foot in his grave clothes. Jesus told those who were watching to Loose him and let him go. And he was freed.
Some of you that are reading this, Jesus has just commanded that the stone be rolled away from your grave. You're on public display it seems like as everyone around gets a whiff of the stench. Their eyes are on you and your God. They want to see if God is going to deliver you out of this mess. God could easily deliver you in secret. But he wants the whole world to know who he is. This sickness that you have right now is not unto death, but so that God may be glorified!! Just continue to live in and abide in his Word. God's got your back and your front, your top and your bottom. And I've never seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging for bread. Believe that and receive it. The victory is your's in the name of Jesus! This sickness is not unto death!
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