Monday, May 5, 2014

The Lazarus Experiment Day 16

DAY 16 DEVO

Joyous and happy, Lazarus floated through the first week of his post-death existence with a smile on his face and a dance in his heart. He woke up smiling, and he didn't stop with that silly grin all day long. He would catch himself shaking his head in full-out wonder, and then offer praise to God audibly and in front of anyone who happened to be close. He did not blush to praise Jesus; to tell the story. He must have told that story a thousand times if he told it once. He could not come down off his new-found abundance. Life was full, faith was energized, joy was abounding, and then he sinned.

Then he sinned.

Not a another single person knew. It was Tabitha again, with her cloak pulled back just so and her shoulder bared for just a fraction of a minute. And that look. THAT LOOK! Martha had to poke Laz in the ribs to get his eyes back to his work, but later that day he nursed the glimmering memory, and it became sin.

Do you remember the first time you sinned after you came to Jesus? How did that make you feel? What did it do to your new life?

I think Lazarus may have been blown away.

{"All things new" and all that--sounds peachy keen--but this is not new. This is old. This feels as familiar as a stick in the eye. I've been here before. I thought all this was over, that I was a "new man," that Jesus was enough. And now I've spoiled it all. My new life isn't so new after all. It's back to the same-ol', same-ol'. So much for a new and improved Lazarus. Crap.}

He may have become physically ill at the thought that he had betrayed everything Jesus had just accomplished. The awareness that sin was still possible and probable and that guilt still smelled just as foul as before crushed him.

"Hey, Jesus and the boys will be coming back from their camping trip today, and I've invited them over for a little get-together tonight," Mary announced. "Hope that's OK."

No. Not OK, Lazarus thought. What will I say? Where will I go? How can I hide?

Visit the scene. Lazarus is lounging, visiting with neighbors as the party gets going. Jesus walks in, surrounded by his disciples. Lazarus moves away a little. He avoids eye-contact. He finds a corner and munches on some grapes, head down.

But Jesus manages to get back there without being noticed. Before Laz can dodge him, Jesus grabs his elbow and pulls him around. The eyes of these two close friends lock, and Lazarus searches there. It is clear that Jesus knows. There is sorrow and pain. But there's more. Jesus' eyes brighten, a smile forms, his face lights. Jesus wraps his arms around Lazarus and pulls him tight and whispers into his ear.

"I've already taken care of that, Lazarus."

Sin lurks around, waiting for a chance to bring death back, to resurrect guilt and shame and fear, to repaint the blackness of our hearts. Jesus' gift of new life powers the battle to fend off sin's advances and deliver them empty. Lazarus had a choice: Believe that Jesus had accomplished what he could not do for himself, or go back to the losing battle and cycle down the familiar path of guilt.

You have that choice. What will you do when you sin?

****

Suggested Scripture For Today: Psalm 51

Suggested Ideas:
1. Creatively express the truth about sin and your new life using words, music, art, or photography. Be sure and share the results with us.
2. Take time out of your day to sit with Jesus and confess what he already knows. Confession is saying "yes" to his appraisal and "yes" to his remedy.
3. Tell a close trusted friend that you need them to sit in for Jesus today. Tell them that you just need to have Jesus present while you tell about some things that are tempting you, tripping you up. Explain that sometimes you long for Jesus to be physically present, but you know that's not really possible yet, so your friend will have to do. Then spend an hour unloading your junk.
4. Cheer and clap all day long for anyone who does anything remotely good and right -- the checker in the grocery store, the McDonald's drive-through worker, your kids, your spouse, the bank teller, the customer. Holler and clap and draw genuine attention. (People will be suspicious - try to do it in a way that is authentic or someone may thing you're being facetious.)


Here's a special note to you - you know who you are:
I know you're still wondering what this crazy thing is all about. You may just feel like you don't have time for this thing. You may feel like you have nothing to offer and nothing to say. You may feel like you're already 15 days behind and you can't catch up. You may be wondering - when will all these posts stop showing up in my Facebook?

I get it. But can I encourage you to just jump in? Maybe just for a day, or the next several days. Just try it, give it a little time, interact a little bit, and see how it goes. I'd love to know your impressions--positive or not.

If you don't try it out, that's OK. There have been participants in TLE who never post at all, but read all of it everyday and tell me later that God used this little band of former zombies to change things in their hearts. So please, lurk on and keep reading. It's OK.

Have a great day you Lazzie peeps.




And my Day 16 thoughts:

Had a great day - lunch with the daughter in law, time with the grandson, did a favor for my bestie with had us talking about the church sermon yesterday, home to the not so young one and that's where the fun ended.

He is wonderful and an incredibly old soul who never ceases to amaze me with his love and insight and compassion and empathy. But sometimes his desires for what he loves to do get in the way of my perception of family obligation/responsibility (read - you should eat dinner with your mother without grumbling and she should have to remind you to tell me good night - it should be something you already enjoy doing each night.)

That being said and as I was eating alone - I took time to read the DEVO for the day and decided I would take Ron's advice and have some conversation with Jesus about what I perceive to be my faults, shortcomings, sins, sinful desires, areas I need help to do better, think more clearly, or just "be" better.

So, suffice it to say, Kleenex has a new invester, my heart is lighter, my soul singing a quiet song... I'm no Carrie Underwood, but you'll get the idea. (Translation: Grant Us Peace) which he did... (and now if you'll forgive me, I think I'll go hide for a while!)

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