April 24, 2022 Charlotte, NC USA
“Yeshua said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” John 11:23-24, Complete Jewish Bible
Back in the early days of our Christian walk Laurie and I attended home groups. We even led some, being as shepherds in what was known as “The Shepherding Movement” back in the 1980s and 90s. Today, some churches who still have them call them life groups, home gatherings, “let’s get together and have fellowship in our house” meetings.
Those times of gathering a few together in private homes were very encouraging. The Holy Spirit’s gifts flowed. The worship times were glorious. People actually knew the ones seated next to them on their left and right. “What a day that was”, Phil Keaggy loved to sing about Christ’s resurrection, but it could have been applied to those times.
As time went on, as it has yet to stop this side of heaven, the life found in home groups waned a bit, almost to a stop, as big church gatherings in massive expensive buildings took their place. And so did the intimacy of sharing His life that comes through one another in those small gatherings.
But the Lord Jesus Christ is restoring all things. He is showing Himself strong on our behalf, just as He did in the first century when the embryonic church of the Living God of Israel sprang forth, equipped with supernatural power and the love of the Lord for all people.
When David Peterman and I arrived at biblical Bethany in April 2022, just across the valley from Jerusalem and the Mount of Olives, driven there by our good friend in the Land, Nouri Hawa, we were the only ones there. The lengthy line of tourists buses that previously lined the streets in years gone by was no more. The evil plans of mankind’s opposing enemy had momentarily stopped the activity of life overall, with his death-bringing lockdowns through government controls. Thinking this was giving life, using “scientific facts” to legitimize their lies, death was the actual result for many lives across the globe.
Yeshua (Jesus) arrived on the scene here in the small town of Bethany 2000 years ago, after Mary and Martha had sent for Him. Their brother Lazarus had died and had already been buried in this tomb before which we now stood. It was somberly quiet in our time as it must have been back then in His.
“Marta (Martha) said to Yeshua, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. Even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you.” Yeshua said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Marta said, “I know that he will rise again at the Resurrection on the Last Day.” Yeshua said to her, “I AM the Resurrection and the Life! Whoever puts his trust in me will live, even if he dies; and everyone living and trusting in me will never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one coming into the world.” John 11:21-27, Complete Jewish Bible
Doing that which the Father had sent Him to do, Jesus spoke forth life, and the buried dead, Lazarus His good friend, still completely wrapped in burial clothes, came forth from the grave.
“Yeshua, again deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone was lying in front of the entrance. Yeshua (Jesus) said, “Take the stone away!” Marta (Martha), the sister of the dead man, said to Yeshua, “By now his body must smell, for it has been four days since he died!” Yeshua said to her, “Didn’t I tell you that if you keep trusting, you will see the glory of God?” So they removed the stone.
Yeshua looked upward and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I myself know that you always hear me, but I say this because of the crowd standing around, so that they may believe that you have sent me.” Having said this, he shouted, “El‘azar (Lazarus)! Come out!” The man who had been dead came out, his hands and feet wrapped in strips of linen and his face covered with a cloth. Yeshua said to them, “Unwrap him, and let him go!” At this, many of the Judeans who had come to visit Miryam (Mary), and had seen what Yeshua had done, trusted in him.” John 11:38-45, Complete Jewish Bible
After I had come down to my “man cave” (aka garage) this quiet, early Sunday morning in April, I began listening to worship songs on my playlist. During the sweet time of music, with John Michael Talbot’s singing, “Hallelu” on my playlist, I quietly worshiped the Lifegiver, the One Who saves all who call upon His Name and restores the souls of many more.
The Holy Spirit spoke a simple word in my inner being, saying, “Rise up.”
I felt He was speaking a word to not only myself but to you as well.
He is giving us the grace, courage, and wisdom to rise up again and let His salvation be known. It starts with His Holy Spirit bringing people together, gathering them in small, intimate, relationship-building surroundings, and through this life showing the world what His love does.
Big isn’t always better as the commercials would want us to believe. Great things always start small and can continue small.
A child is conceived in the mother’s (a woman) womb when the man’s sperm joins with the woman’s egg. Then after nine months of beautiful growth, the Father’s creation comes forth as an innocent baby, completely formed in His image. And as this is His biblical plan, the mother and father together then raise that little one in a nurturing environment. Family brings life. And so it is in His Body as we connect with each other in real, life-giving relationships.
I encourage you to make the effort it truly takes, the time you will have to invest in, the struggles and obstacles that will keep you away, with excuses abounding frequently, and get involved in a small, home-centered group.
As Yeshua called forth Lazarus from the grave, He too is awakening His people, bringing them together, having them get to know one another in close relationships, which in turn will be a demonstration to the world of His love for His people.
Not despising the days of small beginnings, find a church or congregation that supports these meetings, and give your life to the ones He connects you with.
It is time for us to rise up together. Having true friends, whom you actually know and grow with, will let you bring forth His life, for you and them.
Restoration is a good thing. As He is restoring His Body, I pray you will give yourself to what He has for you, and walk with others as life comes forth out of the grave.
Ahava and shalom,
Steve Martin, Love For His People founder
P.S. Walk With Me as I go deep into Lazurus’s tomb.
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Message #68 – in the year of our Lord 04.24.2022 – “Rise Up” – Sunday, 5:31 am in Charlotte, NC USA