Forward Friday: Refuse to Stay Dead

2018. I can’t count all the things I’d like to not see happen or live through in 2018 that I had to deal with in 2017. I’m sure you feel the same way. Maybe not. But probably.

This year, my one word is awake and Forward Fridays will be dedicated to what I’m studying, learning, and understanding about this word. I hope you’ll join me, learn something yourself and challenge yourself to move forward in this year, fully awake. And there will be some guest posts by some wonderful people. I think we can always learn from others’ experiences.

Today, I want to talk about a dead man. And more importantly the Man who raised him back to life.

Awake: to become aroused or active again (according to Merriam-Webster. ) It also means: alive.

Let’s unpack this amazing account. We won’t be able to touch every detail, but we will hit some highlights.

John 11.

I have it here for you in the MSG and NKJV. I’m going to use MSG to give it that one-two punch. 

The first thing we hear of is that a man, a friend of Jesus’s, was sick. Word gets around. But that’s not the only thing that Jesus heard when word was sent. “The one you love so very much is sick.” They weren’t just pals and fishing buddies. He loved him so very much. Like he loves you. Like he loves me. You’d think he’d be up on his feet, “Let’s go, people. I have to get to him.”

Isn’t that what we do when our loved ones are ill? We rush to their bedside, the hospital. We waste no time if it’s in our power to be there. It was in his power to be there sooner than when he got there.

But he waited two whole days! You ever feel like you need a miracle, help, provision, hope…fill in the blank and Jesus falls through–doesn’t show up and you know it’s in his power to do so? I have. 

Instead Jesus responds like this: “This sickness is not fatal. It will become an occasion to show God’s glory by glorifying God’s Son.”

Um…for those gathering around Lazarus, I’m sure they thought differently. I’m sure Lazarus thought differently. “I’m dying, here, Lord! I’m not gonna make it!” I can imagine Lazarus grabbing ahold of his sisters’ hands. “Go! Get Jesus.”

And they did. Because it was fatal! Wasn’t it? By human standards. 


But two days passed. Then Jesus said, “Let’s go back to Judea.” Now he wants to go. Now you want to show up? It’s too late now. The damage has been done. It’s final. Like we’ve buried this. It’s dead. We’re in the grieving stages. If you can’t show up when I ask you to the first time. Then why come at all? Ever had any of these thoughts? Questions? You could have done something. But you didn’t. You sat around ignoring our call for TWO DAYS! 

The disciples didn’t want him to go. “Rabbi, you can’t do that. The Jews are out to kill you, and you’re going back?” You’ll die if you go back! They wanted to protect him over anything that might be done for Lazarus. Thomas the twin says (paraphrase): “Welp, let’s just go die with him then.” 

Opposition was in between Jesus and Lazarus. The Pharisees who wanted him dead. And death itself. But that didn’t stop him. Even if it felt too late to do a single thing.

Because to Jesus: “This sickness isn’t fatal…Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep. I’m going to wake him up.”

“Then let him rest for crying out loud!” they said (paraphrase). Sleeping it off is the best medicine. Even back then, I guess.

Then Jesus got literal. “Lazarus died.” 

Oooh. Well…

“And I am glad for your sakes that I wasn’t there. You’re about to be given new grounds for believing. Now let’s go to him.”

New grounds: An area of knowledge or subject of discussion or thought. Factors forming a basis for action or justification for a belief.

It was time for them to see something new. To see a foreshadowing of what was soon to come so they could believe when it happened.

So, they went.

Four. Days. Dead. 

Jesus meets Martha and they have a conversation.

Martha said, “Master, if you’d been here, my brother wouldn’t have died. Even now, I know that whatever you ask God he will give you.”

Jesus said, “Your brother will be raised up.”

Martha replied, “I know that he will be raised up in the resurrection at the end of time.”

“You don’t have to wait for the End. I am, right now, Resurrection and Life…”

What do you need resurrected? Brought back to life? A marriage? A family restoration? Hope? Dreams? Promises? Health? Joy? Peace? Fill in the blank. What’s been dead and buried for so long that you’ve given up on ever believing Jesus can bring it back? Did you cry out and heard crickets? Saw nothing? Has your faith been buried in a tomb? 

Your sickness (loss of hope, faith, dreams, marriage…you name it) isn’t fatal to Jesus! 

The RIGHT NOW MOMENT for Jesus isn’t always the RIGHT NOW moment for us. RIGHT NOW for Jesus might mean decades later for you. Two days later. Four months. Six years… Or it could mean RIGHT NOW THIS MOMENT. Right now, he can bring back your hope, dead faith, joy…RIGHT NOW! THIS MOMENT! 

Move that stone. Oh, but the stench! EEK.

Move. That. Stone.

“Lazarus, you come out!” Jesus called.

There might have been some awkward tension as onlookers passed glances amongst each other. Some anticipation. Hope. But a lot of awkward glances, I’d think.

And then…a rustling. A scooting along the dirt.

Bound head to toe and face covered, Lazarus the mummy hobbled out like a bad game of Marco Polo. Shuffling toward the sounds outside because the poor dead-now-alive guy couldn’t see! He may have knocked a shoulder, stubbed a toe. He may have oomphed and grr’d his way out. 

But he came out into the light!

Alive. Resurrected.

But bound.

Jesus brought him to life. But he called on others to care for Lazarus in the aftermath, the follow up. “Unwrap him and let him loose.”

A gift! 

I love that phrase: let him loose. Not just to unbind him, but to give him freedom with no limits! Ever used that verbiage? I’d like to let Joanna Gaines loose on my house. 

Let a bound man who become free loose on the world and see what happens! Let a dead man who has been brought back to life loose on the world…see what happens!

Many that were there watching who didn’t believe, believed! In fact, the Word says, “That was a turnaround for many…”

When God brings something dead back to life, maybe YOU yourself, it can be a turnaround for many. Have you been lifeless and dead due to bitterness, tragedy, hurt? Have you given up on God, on life, on love? God can and will breathe new life into you. Ask him to call you out of the dead, musty tomb to live again. It will glorify Jesus. It will be the turnaround for many.

Awoken people turned loose…they set the world on fire with the love and passion of an all-consuming God.

What needs woken up in you? I’d love to pray for you.

Forward Challenge: Take a notebook, your bible, and a pen. Get alone with God and ask him to reveal areas in your life that need woken back up to life. Write them down and ask God to resurrect them.

Forward Scripture: “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep. I’m going to wake him up.” John 11:11 MSG

Forward Prayer: Jesus, I need you to wake up dead areas of life. Breathe into me new ___________. Thank you for coming for me. Thank you that even when I think you’ve dropped the ball, you never have. You never ignore me. Never fail me. Your timing is always the right timing and nothing is dead to you. For those loved ones, I can’t bring back, revive in me joy and hope and restore my heart, make me whole. Let my life glorify you and let it be the turnaround for others. And Lord, let me always be mindful of your work and care for those you’re bringing to life. In Jesus’ name. Amen



GENEROUS: A word that has been rolling around in my heart often
and repeatedly as of late. What does “generous” mean?  According to Webster’s Dictionary: “the
quality of being kind, understanding, and not selfish : the quality of being
generous; especially : willingness to give money and other valuable
things to others”
When thinking of generosity, the word “money”
inevitably comes up. But there has to be more to the word than simply giving of
money, though that means a lot.
Isaiah 32:8 (KJV), says, “But the liberal deviseth liberal
things; and by liberal things shall he stand.” Other translations use “generous”
in place of liberal. Liberal in the Hebrew is, “nadiyb” and it comes from the
root word, “nadab” which means, “make willing, volunteer, to offer free-will
I’m reminded of the children of Israel. In Exodus
35:29 (NKJV) it says, “The children of Israel brought a freewill offering to
the Lord, all the men and women whose hearts were willing to bring material for all kinds of work
which the Lord, by the hand of Moses, had commanded to be done.” They were
about to build the tabernacle. We know that God supplied them with the
materials when they knocked on the Egyptians’ doors and they handed over gold
and silver, and all kinds of things.
God supplied. They gave back what already belonged to
Him. Only the ones with willing hearts. Volunteers. Which means some had been
blessed by God and kept it. They didn’t offer freely, nor did they volunteer.
They kept what really didn’t belong to them in the first place.
Generosity means bringing more than money to God,
though it does mean that. In fact it’s not even so much about the material item
as it is the heart in which you bring it.
Paul says in 2 Corinthians 9:7, “So let each
one give as he purposes
in his heart
, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful
Anything offered to the Lord needs to be done by
freewill. Not because a preacher tells you an amount or percentage you have to
give. Not because you know if you reap good things you’ll get good things and
you really want good things, that would be ulterior motives. The motive to get
not the love of giving. And not because it’s obligation or duty as a Christian,
but because above all else, you WANT to. It excites you.

Because you get giddy giving.  
It’s about offering your time. Your gifts. Your
ability. Your service. Your money. Your home. Your food. Your clothing. Your
drink. Your dinner table. Your “fill in the blank” for God. Because all of
those things were given to you by Him, to be used for Him, and to minister to
My good friend has a painted quote by Anne Frank hanging in her living
room. One night when I had a major internet issue, she freely offered her home
and internet so I could get work done. I showed up and they left for dinner
with family. I wasn’t an intrusion on their plans. I sat at their kitchen table
and glanced up to read that painting. 

 “No one ever became poor by giving.” That’s
what it read. It struck my heart in a major way. It’s been lodged there ever
since and that’s been a couple of months ago. 
Sowing and reaping is an undeniable truth. But we don’t
sow in order to reap.
We sow and water because we’re building something
special upon Someone even more special.
 Paul says, “I
planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So
then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives
the increase.  Now he who plants and he who waters
are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor.
we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s
building. According to the grace of God which was
given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another
builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it.  For
no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus
Christ.” 1 Corinthians 3:6-11 NKJV
I’m unearthing more every day about generosity. And
that is why this year, it’s my ONE WORD. GENEROUS. This year I want to dig the
mines of Scripture, to understand generosity through the eyes of those in the Word,
through the eyes of God. And I want to apply it to my life. To taste the
sweetness of the fruit and relish as the prosperity floods and fattens my soul. I want to
testify to the goodness of giving. Does that mean I’ll be saying “YES” to
everything asked of me in church or by people? No. I can’t say yes to
everything. Neither can you, and you shouldn’t.
But as I spend intimate time with God, I’ll say YES to
what He leads me to. I’ll know when He puts blessing in my hand to return to
Him. I’ll truly be living proof of: “Whoever brings blessing will be enriched,
and one who waters will himself be watered.” Proverbs 11:5 ESV
What will
you work toward in 2016? A goal? A particular word? A resolution?

Also, you still have time to enter the giveaway on Goodreads! It ends Thursday. I’m giving away 5 advance copies of Fatal Reunion which is already in some stores and hits shelves and every online retailer Jan. 5th!

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Goodreads Book Giveaway

Fatal Reunion by Jessica R. Patch

Fatal Reunion

by Jessica R. Patch

Giveaway ends December 30, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

One Word in 2013

*photocredit: freedidgitalphotosjscreationzshttp:

December rolls around and I spend my mornings sipping coffee, talking with Jesus about the past year. I shared my accomplishments and failures, renewed goals on Monday. And I gear up for a new year. 

The mornings go a lot like this:
“Lord–ah, can I not slosh coffee on my pajamas just one morning!–anyway, Lord, January is coming. Where are we going this year? What one word would you have me focus on and what verse will you give me for this year? Also, the 21 days of fasting are coming up…What–gulp–will you have me do?” *I won’t be sharing that with you as I don’t want to lose my reward. Things are supposed to be done in secret, ya know. I may have lost it already just by telling you that 21 days of fasting are coming up. SIGH. 😉 
Lately, I’ve been smacking into “loving others” verses, posts, stories etc…so is it love? I mean I can always work on that. Is it love? Lord, is it? I need a sign! 
One morning, early in December, I woke up and a word popped into my head. 
Joy? Seriously, God? In case you haven’t noticed, I’m a pretty jolly, joyful girl. Um…people tell me this all the time. Just last week, the cashier said I had the best smile. You did hear that, right? 
My word can’t be joy. I got the joy. Where? Down. Down deep in my heart. Deep in my heart to stay. And if the devil doesn’t like it…he can sit on a tack. Sit on a tack to stay.
If my word is Joy, then I need a sign. A big fat sign because quite frankly, I want a better word. And though this doesn’t sound joyous at the moment, I do have joy, Lord.
But wait!! Maybe joy isn’t such a bad thing. This year You must be saying my contract is coming and therefore, Lord, I will have even more joy! And You’re going to supernaturally heal my physical pains. Because this year has been the Valley of Weeping. Joy comes in the morning. 
A silent moment. I call that the God-sigh. 
Or what if this year isn’t going to be a year of harvesting the fruit I’ve labored over and it’s not the year for healing. Are you saying I’m going to have to have joy anyway? Or are worse things going to happen and I’ll need that extra dab that’ll do ya? 
Oh for the love of…well…You, pick another word! 
These are what my first several mornings looked like. Scary, huh? I know.
Okay God, whatever. If it’s joy so be it. But I really, really need a sign. An obvious-no-doubt sign–just hanging out there. 
That morning my husband and I went to see my son’s talent show at school. We entered the office and stood waiting along with a bunch of other parents– whose children couldn’t hold a candle to my child’s talent. I looked over by the door and there in the corner stood a toy soldier about my height. Yes, I put toy and my height together. 
A tag hung–the string nearly invisible–off of his soldier’s hat. In bold red letters it said:
Shut up! 
Inside my head, I said, “Well, that’s a sign hanging out of nowhere for sure. Joy it is.
On Sunday, during the morning service, guess what my pastor preached on? Yeah. Joy. Double dose of confirmation. 
But what verses? And why Joy? Each morning I’d open the Bible and look down to see if God had directed me to the verse. He didn’t. I entered “joy” into Bible Gateway and scrolled through them to see if one would jump out. 
It didn’t.
And then on December 21st, I woke up and took my iPad into the living room where I do my morning devotions. Each morning I read a John Piper sermon or article. I always feel like I’ve been fed to the brim afterwards. This day he shared this verse to this sermon (and here is the link if you want to read it for yourself–The Bible: Kindling for Christian Hedonism.

“The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the
testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord
are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure,
enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the
ordinances of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired
are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings
of the honeycomb
. Moreover by them is thy servant warned; in keeping them there
is great reward
.” Psalm 19:7-11
The word joy isn’t found in these verses, but I knew the instant I read them it was the right verse. My insides started bubbling and tears sprang in my eyes. Then God began to give me a tiny break down of the verses.
Each statement has to do with the Word of God and what it does in a believer’s life. And ultimately…it brings joy. 
Another paragraph down, I read this. A third confirmation of my word.
“The Bible Kindles Joy
The reason David praised God with the words, “He
leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul,” is
because he had bad days. There were days when his soul needed to be restored.
It’s the same phrase used in Psalm
—”the law of the Lord is
perfect, reviving the
soul.” Normal Christian life is a
repeated process of restoration and renewal. Our joy is not static. It
fluctuates with real life. It is as vulnerable to Satan’s attacks as a Lebanese
marine compound to a suicide bomber. When Paul says in 2 Corinthians 1:24,
“Not that we lord it over your faith, but we are workers with you for your
joy,” we should emphasize it this way: “We are workers with
you for your joy.”
The preservation of our joy in God takes work. It is a
fight. Our adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, and he has an
insatiable appetite to destroy one thing: the joy of faith.”

Looks like this year, I’ll be in the Word more than ever before. Join me as I study the precepts, commands, fear, the ways of God and ultimately joy. What are the differences between joy, happiness, and cheer? We’ll look at those in depth through passages and lives of other believers in the Bible. 
Joy isn’t about what we get i.e contracts, agents, material possessions etc… Joy is so much more. So much better. And I can’t wait to discover it all. Looking forward to 2013. Hope you’ll hang around with me and discover it as well! 
*Thank you to Melanie Moore for once again creating–for free–my one word. If you’d like her to create a one word button for you, check out her website and don’t forget to give her a big thanks! HERE

Do you have a one word focus? If so, share in the comments. If not, what are some of your goals for this new year?