Let's Be Inspired Together Blog Articles

 

What are you Wearing?

I was recently listening to a CD from an English preacher called Dr. Reginald Mallet. Dr. Mallet is over 80 years old and has had a great ministry around the UK and US. In his message, he drew attention to the closing verse in the fantastic retelling of Lazarus’s resurrection from the dead, found in John 11:44. Here Jesus instructs those who are watching this miracle take place to “Take off the grave clothes, and let him go”. Dr. Mallet simply mentioned that the Christ who we follow is in the business of not only taking off grave clothes but helping us to put on grace clothes.

As I have been meditating on this scripture, the command that Jesus gave was not just to Lazarus and his friends, but to us and our friends. My thoughts have centered on the question, what are we wearing?

There is much discussion regarding this metaphor in Pauline letters, especially in Galatians and Romans, all coming to the conclusion that we must “clothe ourselves in Christ”. More specifically though, Dr. Mallet and I would ask, are you wearing clothes that are fit for the grave or clothes that exude grace?

We wear ‘grave clothes’ when we engage in thoughts, actions or behaviors that lead to death within our soul. When we hold on to anger, when we fail, when we succumb to temptation, when we place ourselves at the center of our world, we are suffocating our soul. Followed to the extreme, these, and other sins will lead to spiritual death. The apostle Paul is very clear that the “wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23) and when sin is not dealt with, we pay with the death of our soul. Using this metaphor, people, like us, who continue to engage in acts of disobedience are wearing ‘grave clothes’.

The opposite of wearing grave clothes is to wear ‘grace clothes’. We are exhorted in Colossians 3:12-14, “as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” These traits are clothes of grace that reflect the goodness and glory of God as we wear them.

As I meditate on this comparison between ‘grave clothes’ and ‘grave clothes’ my mind considers the following points;

1) The only difference between ‘grave’ and ‘grace’ is one letter. The ‘v’ has been taken back 18 characters to the letter ‘c’. This one, little change, makes a huge difference. Reading at a glance, it is easy to mistake the word grave for grace. Often it is true in the clothes that we wear as well. How many well-meaning attitudes and actions have we done before, believing that they are acts of grace, but really they are actions that will lead to the grave? Often it is very difficult to determine whether our actions are grace-filled or leading to the grave.

2)In the miracle of Lazarus’ resurrection, Jesus enlists the help of some of the friends to take off the grave clothes for Lazarus. God chose to use people like you and me in the miraculous resurrection that he wants to bring within this world. I believe that the call of God upon us today is lovingly helping “take the grave clothes” off our friends who are making decisions that will bring death to their soul. We must be quick not only to wear clothes of grace but also to help others take off their grave clothes.

3) This statement of Jesus concludes with letting us know the purpose of why the grave clothes must be taken off. Jesus says, “and let him go”. In the context of John 11, Jesus is saying “Let him go and live again!”. Let him go and resume his life that he will understand, enjoy, fulfill and life at a higher level than he previously had. The chains of death that held him are gone – go and live. It is only when we put on clothes of grace that we are able to fully live (John 10:10).

As Jesus said of Lazarus, so He says to us – “Take off your grave clothes”!!!

Watch your Speed!

 

My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. “ – James 1:18/19

 

Praying for a New Awakening


I long for God to do something awesome among us. But, as John Wesley said concerning revival, “God does nothing redemptively except through prayer”. So… how should we pray?

 

I believe that the prophet of old, Isaiah, has some new instruction for us in Isaiah 63:15-64:12. Open up your bible and read through these scriptures as you consider this commentary. If you don’t have your Bible handy, you can follow this link here.

 

1)      Pray Passionately! (Isaiah 63:15)

To paraphrase, Isaiah (63:15) begins by saying, “Father, your mighty heart beats with so much passion for us. But you’re holding back. We need more of you!”  Unfortunately, our religious experiences have often tamed and inoculated us against our passionate need for Jesus. Pray passionately for more passion.

 

2)      Pray in alignment with God’s history! (63:16)

God has been our redeemer in times past… and He never changes. Time and time again throughout history God has redeemed and revived his people. And he can do it again.

 

3)      Pray with sorrow (63:17)

We have all taken the wrong path and as much as we’d like to blame someone or something else, we have to take responsibility for our actions that have taken us away from God. These wrong paths have hardened our hearts towards the tender mercies of God. And that is tragically sad.

 

4)      Pray that holy people can possess holy places. (63:18)

Jesus gave himself up for the Church, longing that she be holy and spotless. As members of the Church, we need to live lives of holiness before God. As we prepare for revival, pray that God would purify us – and ask that he would begin with you.

 

5)      Pray that God will come down! (64:1)

“Oh that you would burst from the heavens and come down!” In order for real revival to come, we have to let God burst into our lives, our church, our community and every facet of this world. Pray that God would again “rend the heavens”.

 

6)      Pray that something new will happen (64:4)

There are things that God wants to say to us that we currently can’t hear and a side of God so glorious that we have not yet seen it. Pray that God would help us to know what we do not yet know and see what we do not yet see.

 

7)      Pray out of personal desperation (64:5)

Isaiah begs the question, “how can people like us be saved? “Great question! Spend some time considering how our deeds are like filthy rags (vs6) and how utterly lost we’d be without God’s grace

 

8)      Pray with an openness to be molded (64:8)

He is the potter, we are the clay. Ask God to shape and mold you further into a person that he can use mightily – even when the necessary transformation is difficult.

 

9)      Pray that God will not refuse help (64:12)

We can’t fulfill the purposes of God on our own. On a daily basis, our media screams of humanity’s need… and only through God’s help and strength can these be met. More than ever we need His holy help.

 

…let us pray

Five Things You Must Do to Connect with Your Community

Our clear call from Jesus is to partner with Him to establish His kingdom of love, peace, and power here on earth. One of the most apparent invitations to this end is found in the book of Jeremiah (29:6) where we are exhorted, as people living in exile, to seek the “peace and the prosperity of our city."

Many churches unintentionally disconnect themselves from this call, and as they do, everyone – both inside AND outside the church, experiences tragic loss. There isn’t a city official in our nation today who doesn’t want the community they govern to be peaceful and prosperous. When peace and prosperity are found in a city, everybody wins – families, governments, educational institutions, law enforcement agencies, small businesses, homeowners, citizens, churches and the kingdom of God. For our nations to thrive, our cities need to experience peace and prosperity. It is the church’s responsibility to help foster this.

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