(Working title may change)
By Pastor Linda J
Three years ago on Christmas Eve , my eldest beloved daughter died. The eulogy the Lord helped me write for her was beautiful and definitely from the throne room of God.
Father gave me this scripture , ‘unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and die, it abideth alone but if it dies it bringeth forth much fruit’.(John 12:24) .
I had heard the scripture before, but it didn’t resonate until the day my own natural seed (my daughter) was being prepared to be laid into the ground. She was buried on the 15th January 2014. And through it I saw not only what Jesus did for us through the annals of death and resurrection, but in terms of the continuum for ministry, what Watchman Nee now says ‘a ministry that is to bring healing and life, must spring essentially from experience’ .
And so Father helps me write the word for today :
You can’t give life unless you, yourself have died, been born again and quickened by his life giving spirit. You can’t tell people to get up and walk , unless you yourself have walked at times on coals of fire, and know what it is to walk without shoes or to bruise your toes.
You can’t show people God’s love or tell people to love, if you yourself have no love, but hatred , unforgiveness and condemnation in your heart. All they will hear is the clang of cymbals.
Like Paul, we must gladly spend and be spent for the soul of another. Simply put, unless a grain of wheat (you/me) fall to the ground and die, (of all ambition, needing to be right, to be heard, to be of significance, to be accepted ), one will stay stuck with that hard shell with what should be meat and sustenance for others, shrivelling up and dying .
If we are to reach and touch others and to raise the dead, we must be prepared to be pummelled, to be rejected, to be scoffed at , to hear ‘did God say?’ If we really want to live in the next year , we must be prepared to die.
So Father, we thank you that you have given us eternal life and that life is in your son Jesus Christ. It is in that name (not our own) that we live and breathe and have our being. It is in that Name we call others out of their shell , out of darkness into marvellous light. It is as we surrender and die to our selves and selfish ambitions that others can and will come through the doors.
Father, we pray that nothing you have told us or given us will be wasted, but that we, through obedience and dying to self , taking up our cross , will see other sons and daughters come to glory. All you have given us, is yours, our children, our possessions, our giftings, ourselves even our roles in secular and church life.
We surrender these all back to you and say breathe ‘real’ life into all that we are, all that we do and all that we say.
The world is waiting Lord, you are waiting; You are waiting for us to rise from our slumber, to shake off our shroud and funeral garments, to leave all that we hold dear and to rise up and walk with you in the newness of life and particularly at the start of another year.