Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Dead or Alive

As we enter the season of Lent, the temptation is to treat it as a well-worn book--one to which we already know the ending. Indeed, we can quote most of it by the memories of year after year of thematic bible readings and preaching. So, as Christians, we already know the ending. We know that our Savior rose from the dead and is very much alive. I would like to pose a different question--one that I will be exploring in my own life this Lent. Am I alive?

Revelation 2:1-5
To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: The One who holds the seven stars in His right hand, the One who walks among the seven golden lampstands, says this: "I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false; and you have perseverance and have endured for My name's sake, and have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place--unless you repent.

So many people walk through life going through the motions and barely surviving. They never open up; they never feel. They can't even tell if they are alive or dead without checking their pulse! In a culture that consumes increasing amounts of depression medications and spends billions of dollars annually on psychologists and psychiatrists, having a better life seems like a pipe dream. I have been one of these spiritual zombies for a very long time, but this is not the way that God intended for us to live! John 10:10 tells us that Jesus came, died, and rose again so that we would be able to enjoy an abundant life.

Luke 22:19

And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”

During His last meal before crucifixion, Jesus told His disciples of the sacrifice that He was about to make. He gave them a simple request--remember Him. We repeat His words every time we take communion, to the effect that we usually tend to treat communion as if it is a memorial for the dead. It is not a memorial for the dead, though. Hallelujah, our Savior is ALIVE! Revelation 3:20 says, "
Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me." The act of taking communion is inviting Jesus Himself to enter and dine with us!

He is calling to us to let Him in--to take down those walls that we have built around our hearts in an effort to shut out the pain of life. He is crying out for us to not just sit there in stony silence! We and God have become like ships passing in the night, always coming close to an encounter, but never connecting. He wants to stir our hearts and make that reconnection! He wants to reignite the love and passion that we have lost! He wants to light the holy flame that we have buried deep under that bushel! Only then can He renew and transform our lives--and help us to truly live! Do you feel Him calling? Are you alive?

Deuteronomy 4:28-30
There you will serve gods, the work of man’s hands, wood and stone, which neither see nor hear nor eat nor smell. But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul. When you are in distress and all these things have come upon you, in the latter days you will return to the Lord your God and listen to His voice.

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