Stop living dead.

I took the stage this weekend with a different confidence.  As I was spraying my hair to set it Saturday morning, I called Lisa one of our team members into my room and said, “If no one shows up today, this conference will be a success.”  I am confident that last weekend’s Terre Haute conference was one of the most obedient acts The Blush Network has done to date.  Now, let me say, we have ALWAYS followed right behind our God, but because this was my hometown, this was different.  The church I grew up in brought me to church discipline for filing for divorce from my abusive husband 12 years ago.  For twelve years, I have felt the sting of the death of my childhood.  The act of rejection was one that I have carried with me for years.  Hear me on this, I have moved past this and that act of rejection has literally aided in the growth and blessing of The Blush Network.  I believe overcoming that trial developed character in me that I must have to lead Blush.  God’s resurrecting power was at work last week as I emotionally prepared to go back to my old stomping ground.  I knew because of all the spiritual warfare our team had experienced this date would be significant and satan was working hard to keep us from coming back and claiming that ground.  Because of severe attack we almost cancelled the event, but after three days of prayer, we decided to move forward. The event was resurrected because God spoke loudly to the board of directors and we were unanimous in obeying the Lord.

When I took the stage, I was ready for anything, I knew lives in the audience needed the resurrection power which was the message God placed on my heart all week.  God spoke to my spirit and said, “There are a ton of “Autumn’s” in this audience. Preach what you needed to hear all those years ago.”  So, I preached with a new confidence exactly what God had done in my life and the response was overwhelming.

Last Saturday April 12, not only were lives resurrected, but faith, dreams and spirituals tombs.

I submit to you today in blog form my second message to the audience and ask you to contemplate the verse, “Death where is your sting? O grave where is your victory?” 1 Cor. 15:55

As we celebrate the resurrection power this weekend I know that there are several areas in your life that may need to be resurrected.  Three different scenarios come to mind.

  1. Your dream – Some of you believe that the dream you have had for your life is dead.
  2. Your faith – Even reading this as a Christian you have no faith.  You don’t believe that God can change your circumstances, you almost smirk at the idea that God is that powerful.
  3. Your soul – Some of you reading this have never accepted Christ as Lord.  Sure, you are in church, but you know as you are reading this, there was no conversion.  You may have said it with your mouth or gone forward at a camp, but you never had a heart change.

WELL, TODAY IS THE DAY FOR RESURRECTION POWER.

If your dream has died

I see Shunammite woman in 2 Kings 4:8 who was very hospitable toward the prophet Elisha.  She made Elisha a room in her house whenever Elisha was passing through her town Shunem.  She did so much for Elisha that Elisha asked what he could do to repay her.  Elisha’s servant spoke up and said, “Truly she has no son and her husband is old.” So Elisha blessed her and the next year her son was born.  Elisha blessed her with a dream she had, a son.  It happened when the child grew up that he had a severe headache one day and died in her lap.  Her dream died. BUT LOOK at her response…

She sent word to her husband to make preparation for her to go to Elisha.  SHE DID NOT TELL HER HUSBAND his son died, she focused on the one man that could resurrect her dream.

2 Kings 4:23b,

And she said, “It will be well.”

When she found Elisha he went to the home where the boy was.

2 Kings 4:32-35

When Elisha came into the house, behold the lad was dead and laid on his bed. So he entered and shut the door behind them both and prayed to the Lord. And he went up and lay on the child, and put his mouth on his mouth and his eyes on his eyes and his hands on his hands, and he stretched himself on him, and the flesh of the child became warm. Then he returned and walked in the house once back and forth, and went up and stretched himself on him; and the lad sneezed seven times and the lad opened his eyes.

A couple of points…

 

  1. The Shunammite woman DID NOT BURY THE DEAD BOY!!!!  She called for the prophet to resurrect HIM!!!!! He was her dream and she knew the power of God could do just that!!!  You out there that have buried a dream and you are still alive, WHAT ARE YOU DOING!! You job is not to have a funeral over what you think is dead, your job is to call on the power of God to resurrect it!
  2. Elisha prayed in private!  His prayer was so intentional that it brought a boy to life.  Pray brings about resurrection.  When he prayed for a while the boy BECAME WARM.  He was not brought back to life at first, but the resurrection was beginning.  You must pray the thing through.  DO NOT GIVE UP JUST BEFORE THE RESURRECTION.  If your dream warm?  Do not stop praying now!  Pray until it is resurrected!!
  3. DO NOT BURY THE DREAM WHEN YOU FEEL IT HAS DIED, RESURRECT IT WITH THE POWER OF GOD.

 

If your faith has died

The story of Lazarus dying had nothing to do with resurrecting the dead.  I am confident it had everything to do with resurrecting the faith of those who stood by.  Our boy Lazarus got sick and Mary and Martha notified Jesus and Jesus stayed where He was a couple of more days, when Jesus got to Bethany Lazarus was dead.  On the way to the city Bethany Jesus told his disciples, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I go, so that I may awaken him.”  Before Jesus even got there He knew He was going to resurrect Lazarus. He tells his disciples in John 11:5,

 

I am glad for your sakes that I was not there so that you may believe but let us go to him.

 

He basically told them He was about to show them something that would make them believe. When he arrived His first words to Martha was, “Your brother will rise again” after she told Him if He had been there her brother wouldn’t have died.  When her brother died, SO DID HER FAITH.  She had faith to a point, but not to the point of resurrection.  Her brain could not believe that much, it was too hard for her to understand.

So Jesus standing in the midst of mourners and a very upset family walks to the tomb and He said three words, “REMOVE THE STONE.”

The stone was the object that stood in the way of seeing the great power Jesus was about to unleash.  The stone in your life is unbelief.  You believe to a point, but you cannot wrap your head around some things.  YOUR JOB IS TO REMOVE THE STONE OF DOUBT IN YOUR LIFE.  The stone of doubt is robbing you of seeing something as amazing as the resurrection power.  Without the removal of the stone, Lazarus would not of been able to walk out of the tomb.  When they removed the stone Jesus cried with a LOUD VOICE, “Lazarus, come forth.”  This easter season, Jesus begs to to COME FORTH.  It is time to remove the stone and accept that in your life the impossible it probable.

If your soul is dead

Jesus had been killed on the cross three days before by the very people he did wonders among…His body lay in complete stillness resting from the weight that had been placed on His shoulders.  It was finished and satan’s hordes cheered, BUT THIS IS WHAT THEY WEREN’T EXPECTING…THE RESURRECTION POWER OF GOD.

Matthew 28:2a

And behold, A SEVERE EARTHQUAKE had occurred…

The earth convulsed as it could not house the it’s very CREATOR ANY LONGER.  The earth violently shook as it rejected the fact that Jesus was overcome.  The earth itself couldn’t accept His death because He was the one that furnished it with life.  It was the moment that LIFE OVERCAME DEATH. It was the day that gave me and you hope…it was the day that death died.

DEATH NO LONGER HAS STING AND THE GRAVE NO LONGER HAS VICTORY.

The death and misery of your soul is because your soul also cannot reject the very Creator that gives life.  You are trying to, but as the creation of God, your soul is quaking as a result of accepting sin as something that is final.  I tell you today that I was you and the day that I decided to reject the concept that my miserable life was the way it was going to be and accepted the LIFE THAT ONLY MY SAVIOR CAN BRING, I was resurrected.  Today is the day my sweet reader for you to reject the idea that you cannot overcome.  HE IS THE GREAT VICTOR WHEN IT COMES TO DEATH.  This Easter accept Him as King.

 

I got saved on Easter Sunday morning in 1992 in Terre Haute, Indiana.  I was resurrected so I can write this to you.  Believe, sweet reader, I adore you.

Staring at hope

I sat across the table from my friend; it was my turn to catch her up on my life. The last few months have been months that I wouldn’t change for anything because my God has been refining me. I said with ease, “These last few months have been interesting.”  She replied with, “I know.”  She then said two words that brought me to tears because those two words were the two that the Lord had been laying on my heart.  I quickly asked her, “How did you know?  Did you read something or hear me speak?”  She said, “No, I’ve been praying for you.”  We sat silent and I marveled at the moment.

 

There is nothing like an honest, life-giving conversation with someone that you respect and trust.  One conversation that has intrigued me for weeks in the resurrection story is the story about the two men that encounter Jesus on the road to Emmaus. I have been puzzled, angry, and encouraged by it all at the same time.

 

The story is found in Luke 24:13-35. I’m gonna sum it up for you and I’m gonna preach, so hang with me!

 

Two disciples of Jesus were traveling on the road leading to the city of Emmaus on the day of the resurrection.  We know that their journey was about seven miles, which may have taken them about two hours.  While they were walking, they were talking really intensely about their dear Leader, Jesus, and His crucifixion.  Luke tells us that Jesus appeared to them and prevented them from recognizing Him, then asked them what they were talking about.  In my study, I discovered that Scripture tells us that one of these men was actually Joseph’s (the earthly father of Jesus) brother and he was married to one of the Marys.  The two men were shocked that Jesus (who they didn’t recognize) asked them about the events that they were talking about.  Surely, they thought everyone knew in the area what had happened to Jesus of Nazareth.

As they told Jesus about the crucifixion, Luke says that their demeanor was sad. (Note that Jesus was talking to His earthly uncle).

 

Take a look at the dialogue:

Luke 24:19-21

19 And He said to them, “What things?” And they said to Him, “The things about Jesus the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word in the sight of God and all the people, 20 and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to the sentence of death, and crucified Him. 21 But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, it is the third day since these things happened.

They continued telling Jesus that some women went to the tomb and Jesus’s body was not there.

This is the part that is frustrating to me.  These two men had eyewitnessed EXACTLY what Jesus had told them was going to happen. They saw the crucifixion and the empty tomb. Yet, they sadly thought all hope was lost.  Even though they walked with Jesus, they didn’t believe that He would do exactly what He said He was going to do.

Jesus response was priceless.

Luke 24:25-26 says that Jesus said, “O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!  Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?”

The prophets Jesus was referring to may have been Moses in Deuteronomy 18:15:  “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to Him.”  Or, Jesus may have been referencing the great Isaiah and the chapter about the suffering Servant in Isaiah 53.

The line that gets me about this passage in Luke is 24:21, “But we were hoping that this was He Who was going to redeem Israel.”  I shudder just reading that.  There they were talking to the risen KING OF KINGS and their weak faith said, “but we were hoping.”

I shudder because I’m convicted and challenged.  Sweet readers, OUR GOD ALWAYS DOES WHAT HE SAYS HE WILL DO.  I have heard people say things like, “I prayed about it, but God doesn’t answer my prayers.” Or, “The Bible is irrelevant.”  Some people have just given up hope that God even cares about their situation. I know I am writing to someone today who feels just like these men.  You believed that something would happen and hoped it would and then it appears all hope is lost!  You may be in despair wondering where God is in your situation.  You may be so destitute in spirit to the point you can’t pray. My challenge to you today is that our God always stands in VICTORY. He is not weak or defeated.  He is the Warrior Who fights on your behalf continually. He is just as available to you as these men. Don’t miss Him.  One of Jesus’s last words on the cross was to His mother in John 19:26-27.  He said, “Woman, behold your son,” then looked at John and said, “Behold your mother.”  Even in death, He cared for His mother. He also cares for you.  Your pain.  Your wait.  Your anger.  Your frustration. Your hurt. He is waiting for you, and get this, HE IS ALIVE.

Let me pray for you today.

Lord, Almighty, Father, God.  I come before you today on behalf of my sisters and brothers that are facing insurmountable odds.  I ask you in the name of Jesus to give them a season of rejoicing.  I ask you to show them that you are the Risen King and are knocking at the door of their heart with a specific message for them.  Refresh them this weekend with the remembrance of your Son’s sacrifice and glorious resurrection.  Lord, we need you.  We are a needy people with needy lives.  Please move in the readers of this blog today and refresh them with your power. In the Name of Jesus I pray, Amen.

Not just a hymn.

 

I love holidays. I love a house full of people I love. I love to entertain. One of the things that thrill me most is the preparation for any type of celebration dinner. I prepare with an intense expectancy for what is to come.

 

I woke up this morning with that spirit of expectancy. I don’t know what it was about today. I have been replaying the last year in my life, and how my life has totally changed. I am really excited about next weeks Blush Network conference that we are putting on…….There is a buzz in the air of God’s power. It’s unmistakeable. I have seen God come through ridiculous insane circumstances with ease. I have seen Him defend His stamp on our ministry over and over, with that as my mindset I was excited to see what He would tell me today.

 

I got up early. For the first time in months I was not awoken by my 3 year old son. It was dark in my house, and I was experiencing a rare occurrence for the Miles house….it was silent. I fixed a big pot of coffee and grabbed my beautiful bible. I sat and was like a kid at Christmas ready to break into the pages that hold the wisdom of the Infinite.

 

I chose to read the story of the death and resurrection of Christ. I asked Jesus to forgive me of my sin and become the Lord of my life on Easter Sunday in 1992. There is no way that Sunday I could of realized Who God would become to me.

 

I read through the story of the last passover supper with Jesus. I let myself go to the dinner in my mind. I was thinking of what it would of been like to be disciple and sit with Jesus. I wondered if the air was intense with a sense of expectation. I wondered if the disciples squirmed knowing something out of the ordinary was going to take place. What was going through their minds when Jesus stated, “Truly I say to you that one of you will betray Me.”

 

The story played out on the page the same way it has so many other times that I have read it….however, today, a different verse caught my eye.

 

Matthew 26:30

 

After singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

 

Being one that is driven with finding something new, I started studying. My first thought was, what exactly were they singing.

 

In my study I found that they were singing part of the hallel Psalms. It was a passover tradition to sing a few of these songs after each glass of wine at the dinner, four to be exact. The Psalms that they would of been singing would be Psalm 115-118 and it would be sung after the fourth glass of wine.

 

As I went there in my bible, I sat amazed. I read through Psalm 115-118, and a few phrases stuck out to me. Phrases like….

 

-The cords of death encompassed me and the terrors of Sheol came upon me.

-Then I called upon the name of the Lord: O Lord, I beseech You, save my life.

-Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His godly ones.

-O Lord, surely I am Your servant, I am Your servant, the son of Your handmaid.

-The Lord is for me; I will not fear; What can man do to me.

-The Lord is for me among those who help me.

-THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED HAS BECOME THE CHIEF CORNER STONE.

-Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;For His lovingkindness is everlasting.

 

So many thoughts crowd my mind…..Jesus sang these things as a hymn right before He went to the Garden of Gethsemane to be betrayed and taken into custody to die for you and me. Being aware of all this, no doubt these words caused comfort to Him, the Son, the Sacrifice, the Lamb.

 

I sit in awe of how God the Father could of used this to comfort His Son.

 

Hear this, this Easter week…The comfort of God is incomparable. There is no match for the safety found in His perfect comfort. There is no power that can calm your seas like His. There is no voice that can say so much without uttering a word. There is no peace that can overwhelm you in the most insecure moment. HE IS THE GREAT COMFORT.

Whatever the obstacle, stop looking elsewhere for someone or something to appease your anxiety.

 

He is..