In a moment of glorious surrender, You were broken for all to see. Lifted out of the ashes, I am found in the aftermath. Freedom found in your scars, in your grace my life redeemed for you chose to take the sinners crown as you placed your crown on me. – Aftermath, Hillsong United
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent me to heal the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn, to console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.” And they shall rebuild the old ruins, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the ruined cities, the desolations of many generations.
You guys remember Grace Center right? We turned two last year and I put up a post about our journey. You can check it out here if you did not get to share in our experience. Grace center is under an umbrella body called Christ sqwad ministries. In a nutshell we speak Jesus, we live Jesus, we preach Jesus and you can find out so much more on our website www.christsqwadministries.org. This year, we are believing for rebuilding of ancient ruins both in our personal lives and as a ministry.
ARE YOU TIRED, WORN OUT OR WEARY?
“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavily burdened [by religious rituals that provide no peace], and I will give you rest [refreshing your souls with salvation]. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me [following Me as My disciple], for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest [renewal, blessed quiet] for your souls. For My yoke is easy [to bear] and My burden is light”
Before speaking the words in verse 28, Jesus had just been questioned by the disciples of John the Baptist. At that time John the Baptist was in prison for criticizing King Herod for marrying his brother’s wife. After spending some time in prison, he sent out his disciples to Jesus to confirm whether He was the Christ. John was the man who dressed in camel’s hair garment and a leather belt. He ate locusts and wild honey and told the crowds that came to see him to repent and that the kingdom of God was at hand. He was the man who was called as a forerunner of Christ. That was His mantle. He prepared the way for Jesus, pointed people to Christ and when Jesus was ready to start His ministry He went to John the Baptist. John baptized Him and experienced the gloriousness of the Holy Spirit descend on Jesus. John’s life is an epitome of humility. In Matthew 3:11, he said, “he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry.” The job of carrying sandals was the job of the lowliest servant at that time. Yet John did not deem himself worthy of even this lowliest of jobs in serving Christ. His whole life, he was always pointing and directing people to Jesus. Jesus in verse 11 of Matthew 28 says “…among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist.” With such a repertoire, we can confidently say that John the Baptist was an extraordinary and great man. I cannot begin to imagine the kind of agony a man such as John has to be in for him to doubt whether Jesus was actually Jesus. Whether He was still with Him.
This goes to show that like John, there will be times when we get worn out. When we are weary. When nothing is working out. When aspects of our lives are in rumbles and it feels like certain things in our lives lay blazed to the ground. In ruins. In dust. In ashes. Jesus knew that such moments would come, [it may not be now or you may actually be in that season] so He says to come to Him and He will give us rest. One of the things that make situations agonizing, is the restlessness that comes with it. Not knowing what tomorrow holds. Not knowing where the money is coming from. Not knowing whether the cancer therapy will work this time. Not knowing if the heartbreak will hurt a little less. Uncertainty breeds restlessness that brings about an agony, weariness and tiredness that robs us of joy and peace. In these real time issues, Jesus understands the pain and he offers to give us rest. As we walk with him, we will find rest. As we get to open up our hearts to him about the very situation we are in. We will find rest. For his yoke is easy to bear and His burden is light. Take courage!
WHEN DEATH BECOMES LIFE
Romans 6: 7-14
What we believe is this: If we get included in Christ’s sin-conquering death, we also get included in his life-saving resurrection. We know that when Jesus was raised from the dead it was a signal of the end of death-as-the-end. Never again will death have the last word. When Jesus died, he took sin down with him, but alive he brings God down to us. From now on, think of it this way: Sin speaks a dead language that means nothing to you; God speaks your mother tongue, and you hang on every word. You are dead to sin and alive to God. That’s what Jesus did.
That means you must not give sin a vote in the way you conduct your lives. Don’t give it the time of day. Don’t even run little errands that are connected with that old way of life. Throw yourselves wholeheartedly and full-time—remember, you’ve been raised from the dead!—into God’s way of doing things. Sin can’t tell you how to live. After all, you’re not living under that old tyranny any longer. You’re living in the freedom of God.
Jesus, when he was crucified on that rugged cross; bore our shame, our pain, our failures, our brokenness. These are the very things Jesus died for to set us free from. These ruins are the very thing he turns around to glorify us in. Ruins denote a form of loss, destruction, shame, hopelessness, brokenness. Jesus died and conquered death so that we may have the good news of salvation in Isiah 61. That there is hope and healing for the broken hearted. Comfort and an oil of joy for all those who mourn. Beauty for ashes. There is rebirth, restoration and repair for former and desolate ruins. Sin and death speak a dead language, they no longer have a say. God speaks life and life in abundance and we hang on every word He says.
That we may come to Jesus and experience a freedom that makes our ruins glorious. Take courage!
Let the ruins come to life, in the beauty of your name. Rising up from the ashes, God forever you reign. And my soul will find refuge, in the shadow of your wings. – Hillsong, Glorious ruins.