Friday, August 3, 2012

LIFE LESSONS: A New Hope

LIFE LESSON: A New Hope
by Stefanie Libertore

Resurrection. Webster’s Dictionary defines this incredible event as "the act of bringing something back to life." Eight simple words. One amazing truth.

As I meditated on this, I thought of the miraculous story of Lazarus’ resurrection (John 11). Lazarus had fallen ill and died. Four days later, after Lazarus has been wrapped up tight and neatly laid in a cave, Jesus arrives on the scene. Without a doubt there were the naysayers mumbling under their breath, “Huh! A few days late, don’t you think, Jesus?”

Amidst the chaos of the mourners and the snickering of the crowd, Jesus breathed new hope into the hearts of Mary and Martha, the sisters of Lazarus. With all of heaven hushed, Jesus ordered the stone in front of the cave to be removed. Like a heavenly trumpet blast, Jesus commanded, “Lazarus, come forth!”

With a force that brought worlds into being, out of the tomb came Lazarus, bound hand and foot. Lazarus, who was dead, became the glorious exclamation point at the end of a divine statement!

Oh to be at the mouth of that cave, a witness of the unimaginable.

The resurrection of Lazarus foretold the truth that was coming through Jesus Himself. He IS The Resurrection and The Life — He was about to conquer death forever (I Cor. 15:55).

Jesus specializes in bringing dead things to life. This is a reality every time someone turns from sin to embrace the Cross. His blood paid our penalty. Is there something in your life that needs a resurrection touch? Something that appears hopeless, lifeless, dead? Whether it’s a marriage or relationship, addiction or secret sin, one’s attitude or aptitude, Jesus still specializes in bringing the dead back to life.

As Client Services Director at the Pregnancy Support Center of Stark County, we often meet women – Christian women – who are struggling with pain and shame because of an abortion or sexual past, like Janie:  
“I don’t know how to describe the feelings of release or freedom that I feel. Because of my new understanding of the character of God and His forgiveness, other areas of my life are already starting to be positively affected. I feel like this group was an end and a beginning for me. [The Bible study] has given me new hope that if God can heal me from my abortion, He can heal other areas too.”

This is a resurrection declaration! The secret sin and lies that held her captive have died, and she has embraced freedom, a resurrection —a new beginning— through Christ’s forgiveness.

We have this hope in spite of our failures, our good intentions gone bad, and our outright shouldn’t-have-done-that-but-did-it-anyway sins. We can breathe this hope into hearts and lives of family, friends, and neighbors.

What about you?

Are you struggling with a secret sin? A dead relationship/marriage? A hopeless situation? An ugly past? God knows all about it. You can trust Him. Just like Lazarus, He is calling you forth.

I’ve heard it said, "Night is darkest just before the dawn." When things appear hopeless — dead —  Jesus steps in and does the unimaginable. As we trust Christ and shake off the sin that so easily entangles us, we just might hear the mighty crescendo of shackles falling from our hands and feet and experience anew God’s resurrection power.



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It's so great to have Stef back with us today! Oh, how I enjoyed her beautiful words...
Stefanie Libertore has been joyfully married to Tony since 2003. They are blessed with two wacky, fun children, Isabella and Luke. Stefanie serves as Client Services Director at PregnancySupport Centerin Canton, OH. She is currently working on her first book for women, a Biblical journey of forgiveness, healing and restoration from one’s sexual past.

1 comment:

  1. Stef is the real deal! What a ministry God has developed at PSC in Canton! His light is shining bright through Stef and the amazing women who serve Him there. Kim Dent

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