To Seek The Living Among The Dead

Luke 24:5-6, Easter, rebirth, renewalHere we are, just a few weeks on the other side of Easter and for most of us, it is life as usual.  We carry on, as we always have, performing our duties and responsibilities and trying to do the best that we can.  And there is honor in that aspect of daily life.  As long as we are keeping 1 Corinthians 10:31 in mind (summarized as “whatever you do, do all for the glory of God”) then God will use our daily lives for extraordinary things.

But for just a few moments, let’s go back to that first Easter morning and in particular to the moments immediately following the arrival of the women to the tomb.  We see their alarm, their worry and their fear that Jesus’ body has been taken and that He is not where they expected Him to be.  How will they be able to carry out their duties?  How can they anoint his body for burial and follow the proper procedures if His body is not there?

While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men suddenly stood near them in dazzling clothing; and as the women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living One among the dead?  (Luke 24: 5-6) NASB

Seeking the savior and looking to serve Jesus should be a lifelong pursuit.  But do we sometimes get so caught up in ritual, in duty and in procedure that we miss the divine?  I know that I do.  I know that I have a certain way of doing things and tend to follow a certain schedule as I go about my day and that interruptions or deviations from that schedule are usually met with irritation and annoyance rather than as opportunities to serve or to grow.

Shouldn’t I be using my eyes of faith instead?  Shouldn’t I be inviting God to step in to my regularly scheduled life and do something totally unexpected?  After all, this life I live is not my own.  It is a life that is bought and paid for by the blood of Jesus Christ and it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me!

And unlike the women at the tomb on that first Easter morning, I know Jesus is alive.  I know that He is the resurrected Lord.   I also know that He has made me alive spiritually and no power in heaven or on earth can stand against His will being done.  So why do I so often fall back into routine and walk by sight instead of by faith in my living savior?

All I can say is, and this goes for all of us, that we will never find the living savior among the dead things of our old life and our old mindset.  Jesus is alive and He has made us to be alive with Him and to have life more abundantly as we walk by faith, step by step with Him.  It’s time to let the old ways go.  It’s time to forget those things that are behind and press on towards that which God has for us.  It’s time for us to seek the living savior and leave that which is dead well enough alone.

For Freshness, Go To The Source

renewal, revival, coffee, Matthew 5:13-16I have recently discovered something wonderful, right here in my own town.  As a coffee aficionado, I am always looking for ways to improve my morning cup, and this might be the biggest improvement in flavor and overall enjoyment that I have yet experienced.

Not far from where I work there is a coffee shop that imports and roasts their own beans.  I’ve known of the existence of the shop for some time but until I actually went and experienced a bag of coffee made from fresh roasted beans I had no idea what I had been missing.  You see, coffee begins to lose its flavor very quickly once it has been ground and the farther away it gets from the date that it was first roasted.  For the best coffee, buy whole beans and grind them yourself.  For truly exceptional coffee, buy whole beans that were roasted very recently and are at maximum freshness.

The difference in making coffee with a bag that has been sitting on store shelves for a month or two versus a bag that was roasted mere days before is a large one.  The key for me was finding a local source of quality roasted beans.  The freshness of a bag that is less than a week old takes the flavor to an entirely new and higher level than ever before.

At this point, I have to ask myself a question.  Is my spiritual condition more important than a great cup of coffee?  Absolutely and unequivocally it is.  So why do I have days where I go about my life with a stale and out of date connection to the Holy Spirit?  Why would I try to interact with others and be the person that God wants me to be by using yesterday’s provision?

I admit, this happens to me all too often.  And I believe that I am not alone in this.  We allow ourselves to get distracted and we shorten (or eliminate altogether) our time communing with God through His Holy Spirit.  As born again children of God, this has a disastrous effect on our connection to the heart and mind of the Father and erodes our witness to those around us.  Quite simply, we can’t be what God desires us to be when we aren’t making the time to stay close to Him in prayer and meditation.

Lately, I’ve been feeling spiritually weak and somewhat dry.  Staleness has threatened to creep in.  The last few days I have made it a conscious effort to just be still with God and to keep my heart and mind open to what He wants to say to me.  As I have spent this time and as I have prayed and read His Word he has renewed my soul and strengthened my inner man.  Going to the Source has vastly improved the freshness of my spirit and just as with a great cup of coffee,  freshness makes all the difference!  Trying to accomplish today’s work with yesterday’s renewal just does not work.

On a basic level it may be silly to compare a good cup of coffee with our relationship to God.  What’s important is that we take seriously our connection to the Holy Spirit and we give Him the opportunity to work on us by making the time to be quiet and still before Him.  Only He can restore our soul and keep us fresh, new and exciting Children of God.  Take care not to lose your “flavor” and to keep your light burning bright for all the world to see.

13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.

14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden;15 nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:13-16) NASB