John 3:29 “The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for Him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice.”

The Old Testament imagery of the Lord as the husband & Israel as His bride is shown in Isaiah 62:5 when it says, “As a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you.” And here in this verse, the role of the best man or close friend of the groom is to wait, listening for the groom to make his entrance…rejoicing not resenting his role. But it’s when we take on the work of savior not servant in someone else’s life we will find ourself outside of God’s Will. For if we become the necessity in their life, and not Jesus, we have become their redeemer and thus block the way for the true Savior of their soul to work. Our job as best man is to point the way to Christ…not get in His way.

John 11:25-26 ” Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?’ “

Martha’s theology had its fulfillment in the future…”I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” (John 11:24) But Jesus wanted Martha to have a deep, close, & personal intimacy with Him at that moment. So He asked the probing question, “Do you believe this?” Thus forcing Martha’s faith & trust to emerge into her own personal decision & inheritance…”Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ…” (John 11:27) There will be times in your own life when doubt will cloud your mind…when personal problems bring personal awareness of profound personal needs. Jesus will then drive home the same question about your own personal convictions – “Do you believe this?”

John 11: 21-22 ” ‘Lord,’ Martha said to Jesus, ‘If You had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give You whatever You ask.’ “

We could easily read Martha’s words and assume her tone of voice directed at Jesus was one of anger and acute grief…blaming Him for her brother’s death. But if we look closely at her choice of words it shows something quite different. Martha acknowledges that Lazarus’s condition wouldn’t of worsened if Jesus had arrived sooner, but she looks beyond the temporal in her next bold & confident statement…”But I know that even now God will give You whatever You ask.” Martha has absolute trust that even though Lazarus has been in the tomb for four days, his body beyond recovery with no reasonable way of it happening…she still expects a miracle!

Jeremiah 33:3 ” Call to Me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”

This reassuring Scripture tells us that God will not only respond to our appeals, but will reveal & explain those hidden & secret things of His…bringing them to light. But the important part of this is that we must call on Him, and as a whole, mankind isn’t real good at doing that. Earlier in Jeremiah, God told the people, “Hear this, you foolish and senseless people, who have eyes but do not see, who have ears but do not hear.” Man’s selfishness, pride, and self-centeredness have made us blind & deaf to God’s Message…as we hear but do not understand, see but do not perceive, our hearts growing dull & slow to His Word. But Isaiah foretold of the era of Salvation & Kingdom Righteousness when he wrote, “From now on I will tell you of new things, of hidden things unknown to you.” (Isaiah 48:6) And with the advent of Jesus Christ and the Gospel Message, all hidden things were brought to light & the way to God through Him was made clear…giving us direct access to God the Father.

John 11:11-13 ” 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.’ His disciples replied, ‘Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.’ Jesus had been speaking of his death, but His disciples thought He meant natural sleep.”

Just as Nicodemus misunderstood the metaphor Jesus used when He told him, “You must be born again.” (John 3:4) The disciples misconstrued Jesus’ reference to death as sleep. Though when Jesus used the Greek word, Koimao, for “fallen asleep” it can be used for both sleep & dying. So Jesus then told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead.” using the Greek word, Apothnesko, which definitively means natural death. Why? So that there would be no trace of doubt that Jesus could deliver Lazarus from the grave.

Proverbs 31:30-31 ” Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.”

The allure & aesthetics of beauty and charm will only get you so far in the world…for soon people will discover how shallow & counterfeit your true identity is. But if your life is God-centered…and filled with whole-hearted obedience, people will immediately see you as you are valued by God. And then it will be the works of your hands that will honor you, not the words from yourself or others.

John 11:9-10 ” Jesus answered, ‘Are there not twelve hours of daylight? A man who walks by day will not stumble, for he sees by this world’s light. It is when he walks by night that he stumbles, for he has no light.’ “

Earlier in John 9:4, Jesus had told His disciples, “As long as it is day, we must do the work of Him who sent Me.” In this verse, and for the first time, Jesus wasn’t just speaking about Himself & His mission here on earth but now included His disciples as partners in His Gospel work. You must work in the light for, “God is light; and in Him there is no darkness at all.” (I John 1:5) Which here in this verse emphasizes God’s attributes of moral purity & omniscience. Thus, even though you’re in the world, you will not stumble because the truth of God’s light will illuminate & clear your path of confusion & deception. But if you walk in the darkness of self-reliance & independence from God… you will stumble. That’s because all your beliefs, ethics, and attitudes are the opposite of God’s.

Please pray

Tomorrow our Rural Church Plant will be holding its first Women’s Conference. The Community response has been very encouraging & we look forward to welcoming many ladies that may or may not have ever darkened the door of a Church. Please pray that it will be a welcoming environment where all will be comfortable & feel the love of Jesus. But in the end, I know that God is sovereignly putting everything into place…as we do our best for His glory!

John 11:7-8 ” Then He said to His disciples, ‘Let us go back to Judea.’ ‘But Rabbi,’ they said, ‘a short while ago the Jews tried to stone You, and yet You are going back there?’ “

The disciples couldn’t believe what they had just heard Jesus say. They were incredulous to the thought of returning to Jerusalem and the Jews that not only wanted to kill Jesus, but in all reality, them also. “If we go back all our lives will be in danger, and it will only give the Jews more reason to finish what they started.” Yet by now the disciples should have realized that Jesus’ death would not occur until the “hour” appointed by His Heavenly Father. (John 7:30 & 8:20) and that it would not happen by accident or miscalculation…for His sole reason & purpose coming to earth was for this to be accomplished…and He had been more than plain in telling them exactly about it. (Matthew 16:21 & Mark 8:31 & Luke 9:22)

John 11:5-6 ” Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. Yet when He heard that Lazarus was sick, He stayed where He was two more days.”

To Jesus… Mary, Martha, & Lazarus had become very precious friends…their home in Bethany, always a welcoming place to stay. But yet when Jesus got word that Lazarus was ill, He didn’t run to his bedside but rather stayed put…for two more days it says. But why? The old Jewish custom was that upon death there would be a gradual process of separation – soul from body… and the soul would linger & hover near the body for three days before departing. So in order that there would be no question that Lazarus was indeed good & dead…Jesus was silent & waited. But as you can only imagine, Mary & Martha found this delay most difficult to understand. There will come times in your life when God will trust you with His silence. But it’s an intimate silence of peace, not despair, as you wait for Him…for time is nothing to God and His sovereignty reigns over all. Yet the most wonderful thing about God’s silence is that His stillness is contagious…..building up your faith, trust, and confidence that He has not only heard your prayer, but is in fact actively at work in the situation.

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