Grave Clothes and Chains

John 11:38-44

38 Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. 39 “Take away the stone,” he said.

“But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”

40 Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”

41 So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”

43 When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!”44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.

Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”

Psalm 107:14

He brought them out of darkness, the utter darkness, and broke away their chains.

Isaiah 61:1-3

1 The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,  because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, 2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, 3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes,
the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor.

Today has been an amazing day filled with the Holy Spirit’s inspiration as well as an awakening of sorts to a message that the Lord gave me about a year and a half ago. My friend Lexy was there the night that I first received this message from the Holy Spirit about “Taking off the grave clothes” her and I were talking about life and God and so many things that friends in Christ like to talk about and the Holy Spirit just gave me the message about what it means to be raised to life from the grave and what it means to be raised to life in Christ and what it means to walk in freedom and the first step in walking out that freedom is to take off the grave clothes. Bear with me for a moment as I share this message.

Lazarus represents us in a lot of ways in the sense of that being raised to life and what it means to be born again from death to life in Christ. When we are raised to life in Christ we have to let Jesus break off our clothes of death so that we can walk in the freedom and new life that He has called us to walk in. Jesus wanted Lazarus to be freed and let go so he could walk in freedom, in the same way He wants us to be free from our clothes of death of our former lives before Him so that we can bring Him glory and honor to Him and walk in true freedom. However what I was convicted of today in my heart is how many people have their grave clothes loosened by Christ but they still wear the clothes of death of their former lives before Christ. They still walk around as if their identity is not in Christ but in the former things of the past and they still wear those clothes.

In addressing the next scripture I posted, it has to do with God breaking chains. in the same way that Christ came to give us freedom from the clothes of death that once bound us and kept us in the grave so He has come to break the chains of the things that once bound us up. Jesus breaks chains and He has broken every chain by what He did on the cross and He can and still does break chains today, however in the same way that there are people still adorning themselves in their clothes of death so people are adorning themselves with the chains of their past as if they are still bound by the chains. It’s as if their identities of the former things in the flesh are so connected to them that the idea of freedom is not truly realized.

Jesus came to set the captives free and like it says in Isaiah Christ came to do just that and He did and as a result He bestows upon each of His children a crown of beauty and a garment of praise, He calls us righteous and planted like oaks to display the splendor of God. How then can we do that unless we totally surrender our grave clothes and chains, the ashes of our former lives totally surrendered to Him to receive the name of “Righteous” “Child of God” “Beautiful” and “Set free”? We can’t unless we do just that. What Christ has to offer in Him and His freedom is so much greater. He offers clothes of righteousness and purity, clothes of freedom and when we fill ourselves daily with His Holy Spirit we operate in complete freedom and liberty because where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty and freedom.

As a person who speaks from experience here I was at that place once where I walked around with the clothes of my former identity still on and the chains of my identity as a cutter who was always going to be depressed. But Jesus set me free of that identity and He gave me a new identity in calling me a child of God. He brought me out of my dark place of death and the grave and I gave Him my grave clothes and chains and I walk in the freedom of His Holy Spirit and as a result what Christ does in and through me is beautiful. So has he freed you? He already has by what He did on the cross for you, your choice and call is to walk in that freedom that HE has already given you, He’s called you out of that darkness and into His light, He has even loosened your grave clothes and broken your chains, your call is to take the clothes off and to let the chains fall off and clothe yourself in the identity that Christ has given you.

Just my insight for the day. Just what I believe the Lord was laying on my heart.

May the God who sees you and me bless you with His Spirit of Grace and peace and complete freedom,

Amen

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Grave Clothes and Chains

What’s In your House?

Luke 11:24-26

24 “When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and finding none it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ 25 And when it comes, it finds the house swept and put in order. 26 Then it goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there. And the last state of that person is worse than the first.”

This past summer working for the ministry that I was working for in Boone called for me to preview many different houses that were in some pretty poor conditions. There is one house that stands out from all the rest of them that I could never really get out of my mind. Outwardly it was a very nice brick house in a very nice part of Boone. It belonged to a lady who had status in the community for a long time because of her family. She was very proud of where she came from and such a private person it was a shock to my boss that she was letting us come and see the place. The house outwardly had gutters completely dismantled and halfway hanging off of the house. The porch was cracking and the steps to get on it were unstable, the facia boards on the house were rotting and molded and weathered. When we walked in the house however it was nothing like I had ever seen before. There was trash everywhere, it was hard to breathe and hard to walk through to get to her room. The woman made up so many excuses as to why she lived in a place like this, why she let it go, and all the while I was trying to keep myself from becoming visibly physically ill. She was a shut in, and she didn’t talk to anyone, and her level of pride was so high I found it hard to feel even pity for the woman. I really hope that she’s okay. We were not able to do anything for her house because it was a health hazard and we had to leave it up to DSS to get involved. My reason for describing this house is that the images never left my mind, it has left a blazoned image in my mind.

And today while talking to my mentor in ministry at lunch as she was inquiring about some of the places we did work on, this house came back up in the conversation and I began thinking about what we hoard in our own lives, in our spiritual lives and hearts to fill the empty holes so to speak.  I notice that a lot of people in churches today walk around feeling empty. These are people who have been saved and their lives, their spiritual houses are clean because of them choosing to accept Christ into their lives. However, the emptiness that was once occupied by junk and various sins has not been filled with the Holy Spirit. And because those places have not been filled with the Spirit, my brothers and sisters and even myself have gone back to those empty wells to fill something that can only be filled with the Holy Spirit. This note is not to say that those who are save will be possessed or can be possessed by any evil demons, but that does not mean that one cannot be tempted by the enemy when one’s life is not filled with the Spirit of God completely, and the more one gives into temptation the more it can lead to sin and one’s life begin to be filled up with junk again and the Spirit of God is quenched and not welcomed into one’s life it can leave that individual sick, and that’s when one really needs help.

I write this not to judge or condemn anyone, because I’ve been there, I’ve gotten to a place of despair and darkness but tried to cover it all up like I was a brick house holding in a lot of junk, and not wanting anyone to come in, but when I let God into the house, He was the only one who could clean out all the junk and the truth was as much as I tried to leave him out He never left me, He kept knocking to be let in. and I let the Spirit of God come in and fill me and clean me out all the junk I was harboring inside he helped me clean out, He filled the empty spaces with His living water, HE purged me with His Spirit like fire and I am a new creation being made new every day.

The Holy Spirit is who you should always let into your spiritual house, into your temple always. We all have places that we wish we had control over, that we don’t think we need to let God handle or fill with His Spirit and since He is a patient God and not a forceful one He will not go anywhere HE is not invited. I can say from experience when I let Him into those dark places, everything gets better for my sake in order for me to be that earthen vessel that brings Him glory. We need the Holy Spirit to fill every part of us and continue to go to Him to be filled He is bound to change everything. A life totally surrendered is a fulfilled life by Christ that can do the impossible. We are all thirsty and we all seek to fill our spiritual houses with something. What’s in your house? What needs to be removed and purged? What spaces need to be filled with the Holy Spirit and His living water? We all are thirsty. Let us come to the well. Below is a poem that reflects on the living water of the Holy Spirit.

May the God who sees you and me bless us all as we introspect what we need Him to fill in our own lives.

Amen

“Take Me To The Well”~Angie Littlefair

Take away the distractions

The chaos around me

Let me come to the well

Where I can drink

And never be thirsty again

Take me there

Into the Presence of the King

Where He can wash

And make me clean

Where I can experience freedom

And sweet release

From the things constricting me

Take me to the place

Where I can experience healing

Take me to the well

To the healing waters

That flow straight out

From the Heart of the Father

Let me come and drink

And then let the water

Overflow out of me

Allow me to enter in

To the Father’s arms

Where He can steady my heart

With His steadfast love

Let me see Him face to face

To that place of intimacy

Where I abound in His Grace

Take me to the river

Take me to the spring

Take me to the Well Himself

So I can drink

And never thirst again

For nothing and no one

Except for Him

For truly He is all that satisfies

Take me to where I can drink

Where I can taste and see

And truly be free

Take me to the Well

What’s In your House?