Jesus Wept, 23OCT Message for Women’s Retreat, 05NOV
I share these NOTES from a spoken message that I was blessed to share at our Women’s Retreat last month – about the scriptures from Lazarus – and the HOPE Jesus gives us. and I like taking the time to “revise and extend my remarks” as they say in congress – which writing and editing allows… these are really NOTE format….
This was a message about Jesus weeping – but getting back up and continuing His job – and this message was/is about us knowing the HOPE that God is there for us, and Jesus even crying with us…. but I feel we are not to take a victim stance in life, because Jesus saved us from that and we are to keep moving forward – remembering that HIS grace is sufficient, 2Corinthians 12…
We have been commissioned by God to love God and to know His love for us – and that allows us to do HIS work…. a tremendous song by Steve Wilson lyric states – “Come to us, Lazarus It’s time for you to go”… meaning get up, give it up to God, and go. God kept sending Lazarus references after the weekend retreat – just today, three more Lazarus pieces crossed my sight- a youtube video sent by a friend of the Gospel of John acted out – a youtube video of David Bowie’s “Lazarus” – and thirdly Michael Card’s song “Jesus Wept”.
There was a very focusing moment when learning of my Czech cousin’s death yesterday – at age 93 after a tremendous wonderful life – I have no tears but smiles for Jesus’s huge hug for her – that must feel so wonderful – my cousin was a tremendous believer and witness – and shared that love with her family. She told her family that we (U.S. family members) existed – she was the last letter that got thru in 1946 to her uncle, my great grandfather, she always held HOPE that we could reconnect and I was the blessed one to pull a new string, reconnected us in 1996 and we reap the love of generations of her HOPE – 50 years after losing touch – our LOVE exploded – rebirth to a family – God didn’t let this connection die… God found a way…
HOPE for life eternally renewed – beloved friends in addition to Savior and Saved – Jesus and Lazarus – to show the world eternal LOVE…
It was a blessing and humbling to be asked to share the message at the service on our Women’s Retreat – because I don’t have a biological sister, I feel God has blesses me with so many sisters in so many facets of my life – and these women have been there for me thru thick and thin for 15 years now…what a blessing to share God’s WORD at our beloved Sunday morning service…
Galatians 6:2 was the perfect emailed “verse of the day” for this retreat – and then later when I told my friend at home about the verse and the message, he pulls out the devotion book he was just about to present to the youth group – same verse – yeah – that happened the previous week too – we both had the same scripture – cool God, cool)
Galatians 6:2(NIV) 2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
Jesus Wept, 23OCT
While preparing this message it was crystal clear that God has been looking out for me recently – and forever – as He looks out for all of us… I guess it’s feels like cheating because I feel that the Holy Spirit pre-prepared this message especially with my busy schedule…I had a morning devotion that I wrote but that I didn’t get to finish in to send out – then my retreat organizing committee ladies asked me that evening to share the message – and this devotion fit perfectly. It was/is about “Lazarus”, a song by progressive rock artist Steve Wilson and about Jesus picking us up… and it was a devotion about overcoming sorrow and loss and it’s completely about us resting our heads on the chest of Jesus and allowing HIM to pick us up…. That’s prayer and care 100%…. Sweet…
And you know, it’s a good saying that we need (I need) a good cry in a retreat, LOL, and then let Jesus build us (me) back up… So driving home that night I thought I should look up scripture about crying. But I didn’t have to because God easily popped it into my head: “Jesus wept” – which of course you know is the shortest scripture of the Bible and comes directly from the story of Lazarus… coincident? I don’t think so – the next day, out of the blue, Pastor separately mentioned Lazarus to me – it was all fitting together…I can’t look a gift devotion/sermon in the mouth without realizing it’s from God, in God’s timing… When God pre-writes this kind of stuff, and saves me time, I am truly grateful…
This secular song speaks to letting Jesus handle our angst… those times when “moonlight is bleeding from out of your soul” – we are to try to remember Jesus wants us to rest our heads on HIM – and give our worries to HIM – let me read you the lyrics:
Lazarus, Steve Wilson
As the cheerless towns pass my window
I can see a washed out moon through the fog
And then a voice inside my head, breaks the analogue
“Follow me down to the valley below You know
Moonlight is bleeding from out of your soul”
I survived against the will of my twisted folk
But in the deafness of my world the silence broke
“Follow me down to the valley below You know
Moonlight is bleeding from out of your soul”
“My David don’t you worry
This cold world is not for you
So rest your head upon me
I have strength to carry you”
(Ghosts of the twenties rising Golden summers just holding you)
“Follow me down to the valley below You know
Moonlight is bleeding from out of your soul
Come to us, Lazarus
It’s time for you to go”
So – yeah – these lyrics call out to the character “David” to pull him out of his angst – to put away worry and like Lazarus, get up and keep moving – we are all this person– and we need to just be ourselves and realize we have a great counselor friend in Jesus – life is about letting go of anger and angst – of letting go of that feeling downtrodden and unable to get up – it’s about stopping being the victim – stop being victimized by our own victim-feeling status – it’s completely about being Lazarus and letting Jesus come rescue us – it’s about listening to that voice in our head that breaks the silence – yeah that is God calling…
We are NOT to hold onto a victim status – even if we feel to be the victim – Jesus came to take that away from us – Jesus is sufficient to raise us back up.
A web-based synopsis of the song lyrics also projected that we give up the failed idolized hopes and dreams that might ALSO be holding us back – about getting over any concepts of what we THINK we should have – removing that internal jealousy of what we wanted – and what had hoped for ourselves that never came true – and we should surrender the sadness of that up to God as well…
We take stock of our lives (especially here at the retreat) and we acknowledge our brokenness and we acknowledge His GRACE is sufficient to heal us… We take our thorns, we look for the path that is narrow but sure, we change direction as God calls us on purpose to a purpose… He calls us out of His love for us… God’s faith in us is that we accept His golden repair – our brokenness traded for HIS strength.
9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-11 (NIV)
That is where we find HOPE – Jesus gives us that HOPE to keep moving – when we are weak we find HIS strength. Jesus is the one holding the brokenness holes closed – making us whole – so that “moonlight stops bleeding out of our souls” – and Jesus helps us hold our cups up to let God fill it back up.
Let me share the actual scripture (the symbols*** marks where I added interpretation) (and … is where I condensed for time):
John 11 (NIV) The Death of Lazarus
11 Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, (*** our retreat is in the building called Bethany ***) the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.) 3 So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”
4 When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.”5 6 7 8 9 10
11 After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.” (*** See Jesus already knows what is going on with our lives ***)
12 His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.” 13 Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep.
14 So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, 15 and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”
Jesus Comforts the Sisters of Lazarus
17 On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. 18 Now Bethany was less than two miles[b] from Jerusalem,19 and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. 20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.
21 “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”
23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”
24 Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”
25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
27 “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”
28 After she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside.
32 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34 “Where have you laid him?” he asked.
“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.
35 Jesus wept. (*** see Jesus cries with us!!!!!! And Jesus knew he was on God’s mission to help the whole world – so many that would never know him – a song from praise band at Christmas has a lyric that speaks to the crying Jesus must have had for the lost in the world: “He would weep – A dark so deep -For all her love – She couldn’t comprehend”***)
36 Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”
37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”
Jesus Raises Lazarus From the Dead
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?” (***Jesus was upset and yet still got up to do His mission – He was focused on God’s plan for Him ***)
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.”
See, Jesus tells Lazarus – “It’s time for you to go” – just like in the song – it is time for us to keep moving – give it to God and keep moving on our journey…
God gives us HOPE – not for the prayer that He makes our lives EASY but for the HOPE that He makes our lives CLEAR.
God moved the mountain that was me – and He can in you too – God has faith that we all can change and the classic saying holds true: “when we walk toward Him, He is running toward us.”
Searching out scriptures for the word Hope, I came across this statement: “Our earthly desire is to avoid trials and struggles. Indeed, we tend to measure the quality of our salvation by our lack of problems. Yet, HOPE is not measured by the lack of trials, but by what learn about Jesus when we walk through the trials. Suffering produces endurance, endurance shapes our character, and the knowledge that Jesus has successfully led us through trials before, gives us the confidence that he will see us through the next one. This confidence in God’s provision is the kind of hope which does not lead to disappointment.” (Fred Bitner, http://www.faithgateway.com/bible-verses-about-hope-20-scriptures/#.WBeyj0YrLIU)
Yes, we look for the HOPE in the Lord – not in what our earthly desires are – but we know and we HOPE that the Lord will pull us thru – we know that we are strongest when we are weak because we are depending on Jesus – we have to lean NOT on our own understanding –
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV) – a vacation bible school verse…
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 : about HOPE
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
(For each of the women I handed out these versed about Hope – each person took and read one – then we took time for individual sharing:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. — 1 Peter 1:3 (NIV)
Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. — Romans 5:2-5 (NIV).
Romans 8:24-25 (NIV)
For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
Romans 12:12 (NIV)
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
Romans 15:4 (NIV)
For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
Romans 15:13 (NIV)
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
Hebrews 11:1 (The Voice)
Faith is the assurance of things you have hoped for, the absolute conviction that there are realities you’ve never seen.
Titus 1:1-2 (NIV)
Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began.
Proverbs 24:14 (NIV)
Know that wisdom is such to your soul; if you find it, there will be a future, and your hope will not be cut off.
LORD, you know the hopes of the helpless. Surely you will hear their cries and comfort them.
Psalm 33:18-19 “Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love, that he may deliver their soul from death and keep them alive in famine.”
Titus 1:1-2 “Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began.”
First Timothy 4:10 “For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.”
Second Corinthians 1:7, 11 “Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again.”
A Psalm of David.
1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3 He restoreth my soul:
he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: for thou art with me;
thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:
thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
FYI here are song links – one from the message and the three that came later:..
Steve Wilson Lazarus
book of John – Lazarus
David Bowie – Lazarus (social media says after his cancer diagnosis he was drawn even closer to a spiritual interest – his song Blackstar also shows his dying interest to understand – he questioned inside his art and in interviews… I am pretty sure from my personal experience that God likes questions because He can get down to business with you as your ears are opening and God loves it when the people are actually listening… And thirsting…
And I love listening to Michael Card speak (in person and in video) probably even more than his singing- I have his books, about the four gospels, in my pile to read list – when you meet Michael, you can tell he is like a great Jesus nerd, he just wants to share all the details he has learned… here’s his song “Jesus Wept”
Thanks ALL in ALL