Wednesday, October 30, 2013

From Death to Life

Today I went for a haircut, and in the barber’s shop there was a movie playing in a genre that I have chosen not to watch—a vampire movie. I debated getting up and walking out, and I also thought about saying something to him or asking if I could turn it off. At the time there was only myself, the barber, and another person who was in the chair. I chose to close my eyes and pray. As I prayed, I thanked God that no matter where I was or what was going on around me, that He was there and His hands were surrounding me.

Then my prayers were turned to thoughts about why this barber, and many younger people like him, is so focused on the dead living. And as I considered this I found myself talking with God about the fact that our world is full of people who really are the living dead. In fact, every single one of us was at one time a member of the living dead.

In Ephesians 2:1-5 we read about this transition, “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),” (Ephesians 2:1–5, NASB95)

Because of our sin, we are all born spiritually dead and apart from placing our trust in Jesus Christ for salvation, we will remain that way without hope of ever seeing life. But, as it says in these verses, “God being rich in mercy, because of His great love …. made us alive together with Christ.” This forever moved us from the category of the living dead to the living forever.

Until my turn came I continued to pray. And while I was sitting in the chair our conversation came around to the movie. I wish I could say that the light bulb of comparison went on with him, but it didn’t. This was not our first talk about spiritual things. As with past ones, I continue to pray and I continue to look for those opportunities to build on times such as this. I also know that there are others who are doing the same.

Staying was a difficult decision today, and were I with one of my children I would have walked out and taken the opportunity to talk with my child about what we had seen. But knowing that we live in a world that spiritual battles are going on everywhere around us, I was thankful that God reminded me that He is the one who equips us for times like these, and that by standing firm in Him much can be accomplished.

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.

“Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

“With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.” (Ephesians 6:10–20, NASB95)

Today in “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young (10/30)

I am with you. I am with you. I am with you. Heaven’s bells continually peal with that promise of My Presence. Some people never hear those bells because their minds are earthbound and their hearts are closed to Me. Others hear the bells only once or twice in their lifetimes, in rare moments of seeking me above all else. My desire is that My “sheep” hear My voice continually, for I am the ever-present Shepherd.

Quietness is the classroom where you learn to hear My voice. Beginners need a quiet place in order to still their minds. As you advance in this discipline, you gradually learn to carry the stillness with you wherever you go. When you step back into the mainstream of life, strain to hear those glorious bells: I am with you. I am with you. I am with you.

“Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:12–13, NASB95)

“I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, … My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.” (John 10:14, 27–28, NASB95)

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