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Sunday, July 27, 2014

Part II- Removing your Grave Clothes... Are you ready to be set free?

Submitted by: Carl F. Hunter II, M.Div
Read John 11:17-44

“When He had said these things, He cried out with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come forth." The man who had died came forth, bound hand and foot with wrappings, and his face was wrapped around with a cloth. Jesus said to them, "Loose him, and let him go."  John 11:43-44

"Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage" Galatians 5:1 - 

Are you ready to be set free?

In the first part of this submission, I discussed that the redemptive act of Jesus Christ was not only the “purchase price” to lift the burden of sin, but it also destroyed the yoke of sin. The yoke of sin are those issues of unforgiveness, guilt, shame, and remorse that isolate us in dungeons of desperation, degradation, and fear. The outward manifestations of the yoke are the masks that we have to ware so everyone thinks that we are ok. They are our grave clothes because they are meant to cover the stench of low self-esteem, self-loathing, and failure. The inward manifestation of the yoke is the discomfort that we’ve had with ourselves and tried to anesthetize with all types of behaviors that seemed to work, but ultimately increased the pain that we were inflicting upon ourselves.  Praise be to God that the magnitude of God’s love for us rests in the fact that the sacrifice that God made by giving his only begotten son not only made restitution for sin, but broke the yoke of every encumbrance that could enslave us or separate us from the love of God. YOU have been purchased by his blood. Are you ready to be set free?

Wrapped like a mummy

In the 11th chapter of the Gospel of John, Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha, died and was buried before Jesus arrived. We need to remember that, “He may not come when you want him, but he is always on time.” The story goes that Jesus asked them to take him to the grave site and roll away the stone. He then said “Lazarus come forth”, and wrapped in his “Grave Clothes” Lazarus, who was dead, came out of the grave. Many of us focus on the “Lazarus come forth” part, but we fail to focus on two important facts. First, Lazarus came out of the grave, wrapped like a mummy. His body was bound in linen and his face was covered, which was customary. Second, Jesus said to those that were present, “Loose him, and let him go”. 

Metaphorically, when we are called out of where God has brought us from, the burden of sin is lifted, but just like Lazarus, we still have on our “Grave Clothes”. We are still bound by the traumas that have shaped our lives. From the victimization of sexual abuse to the degradation, isolation, and shame of the things that we brought onto ourselves and those generational curses that are no faults of our own. In short, salvation does not relinquish the fact that we still have to deal with our issues. To have the freedom that is promised to us in Jesus Christ, “the “Grave Clothes” have to come off.   

Loose him and let him go

Jesus told those who were present to “Loose him and let him go.” Lazarus, could take off his own “Grave Clothes”, but Jesus was present and commanded that he be loosed from those things that bound him. So, not only does Jesus have the power to call us out of sin and lift the burden of sin, which is death. He also has the power to break the yoke of the spiritual dilemmas that are keeping us from our greatness. 

Do you still have your “Grave Clothes” on? Have you had enough? Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired? Are you tired of fronting and acting like everything is ok and everything ain’t ok? Are you tired of feeling that God’s
word doesn’t apply to you? Are you ready for a breakthrough?
It sounds insane to go to the doctor’s office or the emergency room and be ok with sitting in the reception area never to see the doctor or even worse, be in the presence of the doctor and not willing to tell him what is wrong with you.  Then why are YOU going to church and not exposing what is really going on in YOUR life. Has church become for YOU an institution of social acceptability or a place of healing and deliverance?

social acceptability

If it is a place of social acceptability, then you might be afraid of what the other sick people in the pews are going to think of you. Yet, if it’s a place of healing and deliverance then you have to tell the doctors what’s wrong with you so they can prescribe the proper medication. This is your life and you only get one shot. How are you going to live it? Do you want to continue suffering or do you want the freedom of your new birthright in Jesus Christ?

Galatians 5:1 says to "Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage".  The lower power; Satan, wants you to stay right where you are, but Jesus Christ made it possible for you to be set free from your self-imposed prisons. Are you willing? If you are, then... 

Pray with me: 

Father God, we thank you for all that you have done in our lives. Your grace, your mercy and you love has covered us and many times carried us and we are so ever grateful. Right now Lord many of us have the gift of your salvation, but are still held captive by our past. It clings to us and we need it removed. So, Lord, right now, in the name of Jesus, loose us from our grave clothes!!! Let us know that we have been forgiving and help us to ACCEPT who we have been so shame and guilt have no power over us any longer. Use us as examples of your glory and you power, and give us the willingness and humility to use our collective testimonies to be a beacon of hope for those who have lost hope. In Jesus name we pray...AMEN

Good Morning! - The Storms of Life

Friday, July 18, 2014

Part I - Removing The Grave Clothes…Still Yoked to the Past

Submitted by: Carl F. Hunter II, M.Div
Read John 11:17-44

“When He had said these things, He cried out with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come forth." The man who had died came forth, bound hand and foot with wrappings, and his face was wrapped around with a cloth. Jesus said to them, "Loose him, and let him go."  John 11:43-44

"Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage" Galatians 5:1

There is Greatness in You

In my previous submission,“There is Greatness in You”, I suggested that many of us deny, do not believe, or fail to accept the greatness that is in “US”. This denial of our God given potential stems from the invalidating paradigms that have rooted themselves in our belief system about us. So, until those negative things that we have come to believe about ourselves are somehow uprooted, we will live in conflict of our divine nature.

Still yoked to shame of my past

I don’t know about you, but I have questioned my salvation. I confessed with my mouth and believed in my heart that Jesus was Lord, but I still found myself yoked to the shame, guilt, remorse, depression, anger, and fear of my past. I was under the assumption that accepting Jesus as my Lord and Savior was supposed to usher those things out of my life right away. I found myself confused and frustrated because, in spite of the fact that I GAVE MY LIFE TO THE LORD, I could not shake those feelings that reinforced those negative infomercials that continued to go off in my head... “If salvation was not enough then something MUST really be WRONG with me.”

So, I still found myself going back to the scene of the crime because salvation did nothing to anesthetize the pain. In my case I went back to the drugs. In your case, it might be pornography, jumping from one abusive relationship to another, infidelity, overeating, over-shopping, being an abuser yourself or something else. All we are searching for is some relief, even if the price that we have to pay is more spiritual degradation. Our churches are filled with saved folk from the pulpit to the last pew still yoked to issues and behaviors that have them in bondage. They sit  Sunday after Sunday suffering in silence “saved” but not “delivered”.

Hosea 4:6 (KJV) tells us “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge”. Many of us fit in the category of “saved” but not “delivered”. We are still yoked to our shame; still yoked to our guilt; still yoked to our remorse and still yoked to our negative coping mechanisms because we only know half the truth. The redemptive act of Jesus Christ not only facilitated lifting the burden of sin, but it broke the yoke of sin. In his death the burden was lifted and in his raising on the third day the yoke of sin is destroyed. In other words, salvation is “Burden lifting and Yoke destroying…” 

Pray with me: Father God, We come today grateful for this moment in time and the opportunity to thank you for where you have bought us from. When it seemed like the world had let us down and given up on us, you continued to stand in the gap and be our bridge over troubled waters. We stand here with our own evidence and our own testimonies that your word is true…”That you have never left us or forsaken us…” Even when we turned our backs on you, you continued to be strong in your goodness and love towards us. So now Lord, we come before you asking you to take the scales from our minds and our hearts that we might see and acknowledge the greatness in us and use what you have blessed us with to move the agenda of the Kingdom. In Jesus name, Amen  

About the writer:

Reverend Hunter is an Itinerant Elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church and a graduate of New Brunswick Theological Seminary. Reverend Hunter is a frequent contributor to The Soul’s Remedy. His prior submission are entitled "Remembering Where God Brought you From"  and “There is Greatness In You”. Reverend Hunter is a father and a grandfather, and resides in New Jersey.

Good Morning! - No matter what don't give up on God


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