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Rise Up!

This year as I reflect on Easter and Jesus' resurrection, I began to think about what it means to be resurrected. We know that because we have accepted Jesus as our Savior, we have been saved into eternal life: "And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son" (John 5:11). This year as I completed my Lent journey and reflected on Jesus' life, ministry, death, and resurrection, I began to ponder on Jesus' friend Lazarus and how Jesus raised him from the dead. Four days after the death of Lazarus, Jesus and his disciples went up to see Lazarus' sisters Mary and Martha. When He arrived, Martha told Jesus that had He been there, her brother would not have died. Jesus told Martha that Lazarus would live again: "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in me shall never die" (John 11: 25). When they arrived at the tomb in which Lazarus was buried, Martha said, "Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days" (John 11:39). After reading this, I began to think about the decomposition of Lazarus' body-the cells of the internal organs decomposing as bacteria consumed the body and expelled gas which caused the pungent odor. I then began to think back over my life and how I too, just as Lazarus, before I found Jesus, was dead-spiritually. Sin had me caught up in disobedience, stubbornness, pride, anger, fornication, low self-esteem, and depression (just to name a few). As I continued to think about the story of Lazarus, God revealed to me how I was just as Lazarus-tied and bound. Lazarus was bound by graveclothes and I was in bondage to sin. After the stone was removed from Lazarus' tomb, Jesus lifted up His eyes and prayed to God. Once He finished, He cried in a loud voice, "Lazarus, come forth!" (43) And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with graveclothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, "Loose him, let him go." (44) Lazarus emerges from the tomb bound head to foot with grave cloths. Sin is like that... it keeps us bound and tied to death and damnation. Lazarus was alive again, his eyes were once again open and his heart was once again beating! After his family and friends loosed the graveclothes, he was free! I am thankful that because of Jesus, we don't have to live in sin. We don't have to live a spiritual death on earth nor do we have to spend eternity separated from Him. We were all bound for eternal death until Jesus unselfishly died for our sins. Just as he called Lazarus from the grave, He also calls us from the grave of sin and death. I am thankful that I answered the call when I heard Him say, "Felisha, come forth!" "Rise Up!" It doesn't matter what we have done, God's mercy, forgiveness, and love is only a prayer away. Just as Lazarus lived again, so do we when we accept Jesus as our Savior. Happy Resurrection Day!

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