Resurrection Power: Donít Look Back!


Main Scriptures Romans 5:12-6:1, 1 Corinthians 15:20-58

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Contents

Introduction

Dream Sequence

       The Witch Dream
       The Sand Storm Dream
       The Funeral Dream
       The What If? Dream
       The Out-of-Control Woman Dream

Summary of Dreams

Closing Remarks



Introduction

The Bible never mentions Christís crucifixion without also mentioning His resurrection in the same text. The work of the cross was crucial. But without the resurrection, it's like half of a complete story. It is the complete undoing of the works of Satan and the conquest of death that gives the substitutional sacrifice for all sin its eternal and current foundation in us. And it is what is most lacking in the theology and lives of almost all Christians. *dmc

In previous writings, I have insisted that Easter be a time of remembrance of the unspeakably cruel, unjustified death of a supremely innocent man. Not a parade of cuddly Easter bunnies. But I must confess that I have never been able to develop a word picture sufficient to describe or reenact the agonizing torture that Jesus suffered.

What is the purpose of this writing? When I look back to Christís death and resurrection, I cannot sufficiently convey the horror and subsequent victory of the events. So, as an alternative, I will offer examples of realities my mind can comprehend, and hopefully my words can translate into some kind of meaning for you.

Looking back, I canít pretend to be able to ďfeelĒ or put into words Christís death on the cross. That really bothered me this past Resurrection Sunday. I felt like I was letting Jesus down, like I was minimizing His experience on the cross. Or, worse yet, that I might take it for granted simply because it was beyond most peopleís set of experiences to be able to relate to His death. Is Jesus a real person that lived, died, and lives again? Or is He more like a situation or institution from the past? Something you read about, but thatís about as far as it goesÖ

I asked God to forgive me for my worthlessness. I acknowledged that God and Jesus have given me so much more than I will ever understand, or ever be able to show my appreciation for. I felt so selfish and useless knowing that all I could do was take, take, take. While God gives, gives, gives.

Where did the need for the cross originate? The Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit of knowledge, in disobedience to Godís command. Perhaps they gained some kind of knowledge of facts, but their separation from Godís Spirit diminished their ability to understand those facts. In other words, they were given the goods, but they didnít know what to do with them, due to their disobedience. Had they remained in communion with God, there would have been no concern over whether what they do is right or wrong. With the Lord walking with them, there would be nothing to divert their attention away from Godís ways. Nothing. That is, until Satan appeared in the Garden as a serpent and tempted them to be like God. ( Genesis 2,3 )

The great irony, and tragedy, of eating the forbidden fruit of knowledge was that we never truly received knowledge of any value. We did not learn how to please God. Instead, we forced ourselves into a trap. Once knowledge had separated good and evil, and once the law had defined sin, we had to be held accountable for our sin, now that we had been told what is good versus evil and what is sin.

In the Garden of Eden, we wanted wisdom. Once gained, we could tell the difference between good and evil. But how has this knowledge of good and evil prospered us, when we donít care what is right or wrong? Regardless of definitions, we continue to do our own thing as we see fit, without regard to Godís wishes or intentions.

I worried, ďWhy did Christ have to die on the cross to take our place for the punishment we deserved? Why didnít God just wave a magic wand and forgive us?Ē I understand there were prophecies in the Old Testament to fulfill. And sacrificial rituals that were a type or foreshadowing of Jesusí sacrifice. Christ had to conquer death and Satan. Christ had to bring new life. It all fits together. But really now. Why the dramatics and all the mystery? This is how God decided to run the show. But why couldnít God have devised a way to remove our sin without making us feel guilty for Christ having to die on the cross?

I will use some dreams I have had as examples of my thought process, in an attempt to convey the horror and subsequent victory of Christís death and resurrection. Consider the dreams to be a puzzle to be pondered, and then we will unravel the puzzle together.

I am (was) a victim of childhood abuse, which impacts some of my dreams detailed here. I wonít be going into specifics about the abuse; that would be irrelevant to this message. But I will say that no relatives were involved.

I have been praying about this matter and have been coming to some of my own personal conclusions that I would like to present for your consideration. The dreams are presented in the order in which they actually happened. This dream sequence progresses from being self-centered, looking for ways to protect myself and make me happy, then on to wanting to help others individually, and finally becoming involved in building up groups of people, and then the entire Body of Christ.

After each dream is a response to or interpretation of the dream. David Michael Carpenter (bio provided at end) wrote the responses to the first four dreams (Witch, Sand Storm, Funeral, and What If?). I (Jeff) wrote the response to the last dream (Out-of-Control Woman). Over a period of time, I sent Dave emails containing some of my dreams, to which Dave responded. This dream sequence is a blending of these correspondences.


Dream Sequence


The Witch Dream

There was a boy and a girl ( ages 6-8 ) in a dungeon with all kinds of torture devices. They were being held prisoner by a wicked witch.

The witch appeared to me. She said she had set up a schedule (like every so many hours) for torturing the children. She said every time she tortured the children, she would tell them it was MY fault they were being punished.

Then she said it was time for the children's next punishment. She raised her arm to wave her magic wand. But I just couldn't let her hurt those precious little children. So I started pinching the arm holding the magic wand. (Sorry, I had forgotten to bring my lance with me that day.) Her arm came down and she could not use her magic on the children. The children were safe. (Applause goes here.)

Then the witch said because I had defied her, she was going to double the children's punishment. And of course she would tell them it was my fault they were being double punished.

Again, she raised her arm to wave her magic wand. Again, I just couldn't let her hurt those precious little children. Again, I started pinching the arm holding the magic wand. But she was ready for me this time and held her arm stiff so I could not lower it. Not to be defeated, I dug my fingernails into her arm. Again, her arm came down and she could not use her magic on the children. The children were safe. (Again, applause goes here.)

This scenario continued. The witch and I were eye-to-eye, locked in mortal combat. I might have to hold the witch at bay forever (or until a good witch showed up), but the children were safe. That is all that mattered.

Do you have any witches you would like me to pinch for you?

Response to The Witch Dream

The references to the witch are real indications of demonic oppression. Looking back, this oppression has an obvious source from your abuse, and as a young person, you have somewhat sacrificed yourself to protect that child that was assaulted. The abuse left you open to the oppression as all terrible secrets do. You are now being set free and you are able, with your relationship with Jesus, to battle the oppression and win. You are fighting to defend the innocence that was wrongfully injured and that is the reference to the children.


The Sand Storm Dream

I was at school, walking down a dark hallway, with a stalker following a few feet behind me. Then suddenly a great sand storm was coming down the hall at us. (It wasnít actually a sand storm. It was more like a dust bowl twister with lots of dirt and corn husks flying around in it. ďSomewhereÖ Over the RainbowÖĒ But I thought a sand storm would be easier for you to visualize, in case you didnít grow up in Kansas. There was wind. And lots of stuff being carried in the wind.)

When the storm reached me, I was not afraid. I was completely calm. It did not even occur to me to be concerned. The winds split in both directions around to the sides of me, as if there were a giant ďVĒ on its side in front of me to part the storm. My tormentor was safe behind me.

The storm kept growing more severe with faster winds and more junk flying around. But the stronger the storm grew, the stronger I grew, and the storm continued to be deflected toward either side of me. As I was growing stronger, I was also growing bigger, until the top of my head reached the high ceiling. Then the storm instantly vanished, as quickly as it had come up.

I wondered if the stalker were still around. With my head still reaching the ceiling, I turned around to look for him. I donít know what game he was playing, but he was only three or four years old now and itty bitty. What took the wind out of his sails?

Response to The Sand Storm Dream

You now have a clear knowledge of the game that Satan is playing and that knowledge is what destroys his work in the light. In fact you are completely free from all this and you must command these visions to leave in the name of Jesus. This dream is a good sign, but you are still looking back and need to rid yourself of the dreams altogether. These dreams are very real Jeff in that this is part of a spiritual battle, and it looks like you have the courage and knowledge of the power of Jesus in you to win.

When Satan tries to destroy us, it is when we are weak and that is why children are so often the target. Satan knows those that will be a problem to him and he fights them as soon as he can. And once he has dug in his talons, he persists until he destroys or owns his victims. Almost always, victims of abuse blame themselves and become self-destructive. Satan used this dream to spiritually try to keep you in the bondage of guilt.

The storm is his fury with you that you survived and God stands in your living dream with you as you stand against the full force of Satanís fury. Remember, dreams are not some idle movie we have at night. They are a real battle in the real spiritual realm and you must become aware when you are dreaming that there is an effect to these dreams that plays into the physical realm.

So dreams are a real part of our spiritual lives and not to be taken lightly. But we must exert control over these things and a time comes when we must not allow Satanís input into our dream life. The storm did not work, and yes it could have had a deadly impact had the Lord not been there to split the sea and make a way for you. The last part of the dream is prophetic and it is you rising up to your full height and seeing Satan for what he is, a desperate small, but dangerous being. As you are now rising up in the likeness of Christ day by day, you will see all these illusions from the past as the feeble wizard from the old movie.

The main thing is that you begin to take power from this realization and cut yourself off from the things of the past and receive your new life. Many people, and even yourself, will make it difficult to 'not be' who you were only recently. But please hold the ground you have won and don't look back. Yours is now the future. Do not identify with the past any more -- you are a free man.


The Funeral Dream

Sometimes when the thought ďI was abused as a child, and nobody came to my funeralĒ pops into my head, I envision a funeral home. My coffin is there (closed casket), my services are being held, and the room is empty. After decades, my mind has decided to alter this scene as it plays out in my head.

But now, my coffin is there (still closed casket), my services are being held, but now the room is full. I am standing in the aisle watching the service, when all of a sudden, the lid to my coffin flies open! I leap from the coffin with the biggest smile you have ever seen, my face beaming. I am still a teenager, but past the age when the abuse occurred. I am young again with my whole life ahead of me.

Once this scene ends, I am initially disappointed that I am not still a teenager, as in the scene. But happiness cannot be measured by how many years you expect to have left to enjoy life. Nor can it be measured by what wonderful things you expect to experience during those years. Happiness is found deep down inside you, in your heart and soul. And happiness is not a time or a state of events. Happiness is simply the knowledge that it is permissible for you to like yourself -- and to then carry that knowledge forward into your relationships with other people.

Dream on!

Response to The Funeral Dream

What occurs in our minds has a definite spiritual component. The resulting impact of real, traumatic events of the past, and the ongoing spiritual battle that occurs in the mind, create a character. At war in this battle are God's efforts to hold us to the image of the new man He has created, and Satan's efforts to drag us back to the vomit of the past and force us to identify with the 'old man', the Flesh.

The dream state is very important. When you are relaxed, or when you are just about to drift off, you are in a suspended state of receptivity to the spiritual realm. This is when you are hit. We, even as Christians, do not fully realize the reality of the spiritual realm. We who are by definition born again from above, of the Spirit, betray that reality with our everyday conversations. Our primary reality is the Flesh, still, because that is the most tangible and ďin our faceĒ. These dreams, although they have a movie-like character, are underpinned by a spiritual 'reality'.

There are actual things happening behind the scenes spiritually that are translated through the dream activity. God is active and shouting at you in the spiritual realm, Satan is active and shouting at you, and your own spirit is active and sensing its reaction, trying things on, looking at things you can't or won't accept under the restraints of the everyday fleshly existence. When you understand this dynamic, you can see what all these dreams are telling you, and they are all talking about the same 'accident' from different perspectives.

I must repeat and repeat that you are in a major battle and that will not end. Take on the role of a soldier. You were wounded badly but you are needed on the front lines. The dreams are Satan's attempt to hold you to the bullet you received in your innocence. The rest of your life, and the troubles, were attached to that trauma because you never had the Great Healer until now. Now you HAVE BEEN HEALED by the stripes of Jesus and you must use your shield of faith to deflect the arrows of temptation and deceit. You do not any longer have to be held hostage as the dreams indicate.

The temptations are very subtle, but ultimately Satan wants to continue to lure you into the past. It may be guilt, reincarnating a post-trauma teenager, or it may be self-pity that Satan will say you deserve. But donít look back. The freedom we have in Christ is to be free from all connections with a previous life before you were born anew. The new birth is real and Satan wants to swoop in and kill that newborn child. He will continue to work overtime because you are a man of promise. God speaks in your dream that you HAVE WON. But He is also speaking through people like me in this real-time situation, here and now, that you must use the same spiritual resource that God has given you to break the arm of the witch, to assault at every turn every invasion of these dreams into your thoughts.

You are not that boy who was brutalized. You are a new man. A free man and we must put to death the old man daily. This is why Jesus says 'take up my cross'. He does not mean to walk around beating yourself up, He means to continue at all times to crucify the 'old man', in this case that innocent young boy. You are new! Out of that coffin God is saying, "Jeff this is the new you, get out of there, that situation belongs to a nice kid who was hurt but that's not you buddy, I have made you brand new so let's get on with it."

Jeff this is a terrible war. It is a very real battle and you are winning. I know this. This does not mean that you are not being pounded and assaulted. Do not think that because you are under attack and still getting hits that you are losing. No one ever won a battle without terrible cost. This whole movie ends up with you marching home victorious and God is screaming at you to shut down Satan's propaganda machine. He is helping you, and yes it is a hard slog, but you are winning and please understand that this is a very hard, dirty war we are in.

Deflect all thoughts that are not of God. Please check out Phillipians 4 about what we are to allow in our heads. Do not be deterred by setbacks, they will happen. You are not alone in this Brother. I am in the foxhole next to you! Let's suck up our courage and go over the top one more time, and one more time, and one more time, and one more time until we see that twister-of-truth Satan back where he belongs. Think and breathe that battle mentality.


The What If? Dream

A lot of people have a "what if" or a magic cure-all condition, where they claim if a certain condition could be met, everything else in life would fall into place. It is like some monkey you have on your back. You think if you could be set free from this ďattachmentĒ, all your problems would be solved. Or it could be some great ďturn-of-eventsĒ circumstance that would signal to you that the past has finally lost its hold on you and you are free to move on with the rest of your life.

Response to The What If? Dream

My response Jeff would be that you are healed. The problem arises when you do not yet identify with the newborn you, the one who is healed. You must identify with the newborn man, the new healed self. And, of course, we must identify with Jesus as we are now being made into His likeness.

We now have a very real Father in Heaven and we must see Him in prayer and feel His real Fatherly love. We also have a real Brother in Jesus. We can love Him and be intimate with Him. This is the 'condition' you speak of, but that condition is already met and you are there. The 'work' as it is spoken of in James is to believe 'unto' Him. What this means is that the only real 'work' we have to do as Christians is 'believe', 'trust', 'act upon', 'depend upon' what He says alone. If He says you, by His stripes are healed, then you are. If He says 'be' Holy as I am Holy, then just your being is holy. He 'is' Holy, he doesn't have to get all His 'ducks in a row' in order to 'be' Holy, He just 'is' holy.

The assault on your mind will continue but you must choose each time to reject, 'In the name of Jesus', those ideas and what-if thoughts that do not proclaim the truth of your new nature. This is the crux of the battle. You HAVE met the conditions because you have declared with your mouth and believed in your heart that Jesus is Lord. Now you must take possession of the land and leave the land you have come from.

As you saw in Philippians 4, we are not to dwell on that which is profane. Realize that these what-if thoughts are not from the newborn man of the spirit and deflect them. The belt of truth tells you that which is true about who you are now and the shield of faith deflects the darts and lies about who Satan is trying to tell you that you are.

It is all a question of identity and you are a former victim of identity theft. All that happened is done and it is past and the old man cannot untangle that mess. The new man is simply free to walk away. It's just a lie. I like to use a simple Post Office saying Jeff and I speak it every day. When the old man thoughts are tossed at me I just say 'Wrong address, he doesn't live there anymore. Return to sender.', and I don't open the package.

ďBrothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.Ē ( Philippians 3:13-14 ) NIV

Strain to look forward, never looking back. You have set your hand to the plow, now keep your eyes set ahead on the work to do and Jesus. The more you become a servant to others the less time you will have to dwell on those things from the past that Satan fires at you. Avoid all situations that will expose you to temptation but get out and get involved in other peopleís lives. You are living in the greatest country the world has ever seen with tremendous resources at your feet. People need to know what you know.

Get yourself active and you will see you have far less trouble than lots of others and you will be a help to them. You must maintain a firewall against the thoughts and that will translate gradually into your physical life. You are much farther ahead than you think. It is always hard to gauge your progress when you are in the middle of a journey. So Jeff, do a 'deny access' program against the inappropriate thoughts.

Again, you are NOW in possession of THE cure-all and you have fulfilled all the conditions. You must accept that and begin walking more and more in the absolute knowledge that this is what Jesus has promised. Let that reality fill you at all times.

There's a battle going on and you're the winner!


The Out-of-Control Woman Dream

I dreamed a woman and I were riding a bike and entered a subdivision of homes. She was upset about something and starting running very quickly around the houses. Then she was unable to control herself and started to run THROUGH the houses. At first she just knocked down a door going in and another door going out, but with each new house, she did more damage. Eventually, she would level about one fourth of each house she came into contact with. (No one was in the houses.) Twelve houses were damaged.

I feared for the womanís safety because the home owners were angry and sought retribution. I knew I had the power to rebuild the houses to their former state. Instantly. But I did not wish the public to know I had that much power.

The first thing I had to do was protect the woman. Since I did not wish to have it appear that I was the one in control, I functioned as a magician would. I twirled around and then I was wearing a large black cape. I stooped down next to the woman and wrapped the cape around her completely, so that no part of her was showing. When I stood up, she had vanished. But no one questioned this since it was just a magicianís trick.

The next thing I had to do was repair the homes. Again, I did not wish for them to see me exhibit power. So I asked everyone to leave the area while I performed my magic. Then I carried out something using an Oriental philosophy ritual in which I did things to help the mind see things differently from how things appear physically. Finally, there was a black magic ritual in which I had a searing hot altar. I was to throw elements on the altar. Each component thrown on the altar had special significance and would be necessary to repair each home.

I had twelve pieces of element in a bowl. One element for each home. As I dropped each element on the altar, it sizzled and flared up. As I dropped each element on the altar, one home was repaired. Twelve pieces. Twelve homes.

Response to The Out-of-Control Woman Dream

Adam wanted knowledge to be like God.
The Israelites wanted a king to be like other nations. (Deuteronomy 17:14 )
The twelve tribes of Judah were scattered.
The Jews ignored the Messiah, who then was made available to the Gentiles, their enemies.

Do you see where the pieces fit together?

Adam wanted to be like God. Christ IS God.
The Israelites wanted a king. Christ IS King.
The twelve tribes of Judah were scattered. The twelve Disciples were gathered together and scattered. Israel will be restored.
Christ has welcomed the Gentiles. But He still is holding the door open for the Jews. First the Jews and then the Gentiles to pass through.

I did not wish for it to appear that I was the one in control. I was doing the Fatherís will. He is in control. Christ did not wish to be revealed before His time.

Not only did I protect the woman who was out-of-control, I now have access to the power to restore what she had taken away from the lives of other people. Even though she caused damage, I still wanted to protect her. Some may look at her as a villain. But she is actually the Church out-of-control as it tries to imitate secular institutions. (Experimenting with Oriental philosophy and black magic to repair the damage; not knowing the true Healer.) The damage the Church has caused is massive, but not irreparable. Even though the Church has caused damage, Christ still wants to protect her. The woman, the Church, is Christís Bride. The Body of Christ has been splintered into many pieces. But it can be restored to a state of being the functional Body of Christ.

If we look at the resurrection collectively as the entire Body of Christ, the crucifixion and resurrection also has corporate meaning. God put Adam in the garden to work. Now we have been given a new work. Adam cared for the garden. We are to care for Godís children and Godís Kingdom.


Summary of Dreams

The first dreams were self-centered, focusing on my own personal conflict. The last dream is Kingdom oriented. It is Christ-centered to build up the Body of Christ.

The dreams show a progression of maturity. In the first dream, it is easy to want to help kids because they are vulnerable and easily liked. In the second dream, it is more difficult to want to help an enemy. In the last dream, I am even gentle and caring toward a destructive character.

At the start, due to my abuse, I didn't think I actually could sin. I blamed all my sin and mistakes on other people. "Oh, that person MADE me sin. He forced me into a situation where I had no choice but to do it, so it wasn't my fault. That doesn't count as sin." My self-image was too deflated to accept any responsibility for wrongdoing. My mind was too closed off to that possibility. The burden of this knowledge (my own sin) would be more than I could bear. So the knowledge remained hidden. Even when I became aware of this, I still used abuse as an excuse not to contribute or get involved, because I felt I was not prepared enough, having missed out on so my of life.

Adam and Eve had knowledge that was once hidden to them. They chose to bring that knowledge out from hiding, for their selfish benefit. We all look at Adam and Eve and blame original sin on them. We say that it wasnít our fault Adam and Eve did that. And it isnít our fault now when we sin. Or maybe it is the serpentís fault for tempting Adam and Eve. Or maybe God set us up because He knew we would sin anyway.

I once could not see my sin. And the world still canít see its own sin. I didnít know I needed the cross. And neither does the world know it needs the cross. But Christ did the work of the cross before we even knew we needed it.

I said I could not accept that I could sin because of a deflated sense of self worth. Is this like having a hardened heart, where you cannot see that you are a wicked sinner? Maybe that is how the world is. Their hardened hearts will not allow them to see their wickedness.

ďBut I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned. (John 16:7-11 ) NIV

There is something I have been confused about -- people having hardened hearts. If they are hardened, that sounds like they are too tough for sin to bother them. This much is true, until the Holy Spirit begins to convict them, and then their hearts soften.

So I could not accept responsibility for my sin because of what had been done to me -- my abuse. And the world at large cannot accept responsibility for its sin because of what has been done to it Ė the abuse this world dishes out regardless of circumstances.

Was I, even though a professing Christian, so different from any other person off the street? I didnít want to confess my sins because that would make me more vulnerable to other people. Could an unbeliever be courageous enough to allow himself to show some vulnerability, in admitting his sins and his need for support in changing his lifestyle?

Are we tender-hearted and loving enough to accept an unbelieverís vulnerability as an expected step toward freedom from the past? Or would we turn a cold shoulder to him? Think about it. Maybe you would not consciously look down your nose at an unbeliever (or a struggling Christian). But would your lack of experience or your level of discomfort in this situation give you the excuse that you need not to get involved?

Letís turn that question around. Is it possible that you actually hope that no unbeliever will EVER open up to you? You really donít want to be a witness, now do you? You donít want to give your testimony. You donít want to lead him to Christ. Why not? Because you donít want to show YOUR vulnerability to the sinner.

Are you truly looking for resurrection power? Youíre not going to find it while burying your face in your Bible, hiding in your bedroom closet with the curtains pulled tight to shut the world out.

Tired of just playing church? Forget the ďHi, how are you?Ē greetings that you never wait long enough to hear the answers for. Mumbling and fumbling through the rituals and rites isnít getting you anywhere. So throw a brick through that stained glass wall you have built around yourself! Let the light of our Saviorís love reach into you. Walk bravely into the world carrying only Christís love in your heart. Thatís all you need to carry with you. That is all the equipment, preparation, and ammunition you need.

Christ went to the cross with nothing. He arose with everything. Donít put the horse before the cart. Plant a seed with nothing. Watch it grow into everything. Thatís right. Thatís all you need. That tiny little seed. Go ahead and plant it. It will grow by the power of the Holy Spirit. God does the work. But that wonít happen until you take the first step and plant that seed. Come on, now. How heavy is that one little seed? How deep a furrow must you plow for something so small?

You say you still have unfinished business to tend to first? Take a deep breath. Go to God in prayer. And let the Holy Spirit flush all that junk down the drain. Itís time to get on to bigger and better things.

Got a witch in your dungeon? Crucify that witch and leave her behind!

Ever have a sand storm blow you down? Deflect it and set it aside!

Living your ďlifeĒ in the death grip of a coffin? Jump out and live. Leave the funerals to the dead!

Living in a world paralyzed by ďwhat could have beenĒ or ďwhat should have beenĒ? Nail those what-ifís to the cross! Get on with living!

Are you running out-of-control, leaving a wake of destruction? Place yourself in Godís loving hands. Let Him take control!

Are you truly looking for resurrection power? Not just the power to change lives. But the power to give a new birth and a new life? Give your life to Christ. And donít look back!


Closing Remarks

In the Garden of Eden, God said we would die if we disobeyed His command. He warned us but we didn't believe Him. We did die, both spiritually and physically. Then there were things like laws and crimes against God. And equity. Crime must be punished. Jesus was the ransom for our sins. He paid the price. He bore the cost. Jesus took the punishment that we deserved. I looked for an excuse why Jesus didnít really have to die. But He had to conquer death once and for all so that all may live. "Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him." ( Hebrews 9:27-28 ) NIV

If we say donít look back, are we ignoring the cross? No. We are looking forward to rebirth and new life. The future is where this is to be discovered and realized. The Bible looks forward. Adam. Then Adam looked forward toward Christ. The sacrificial rites looked forward toward the cross. The Old Testament looked forward to the coming Messiah. The New Testament, after Christís resurrection, looked forward to the Messiahís return.

The cross wasnít just to purge our sins and that was the end of it. The subsequent resurrection brings about spiritual and physical rebirth and regeneration. Adam was the first to die. Christ was the first to die and arise from that death. Christ is the first to show the way. What Christ experienced first, He has made available to all of us.

We must recognize what Christ has done for us. And we are to show remorse for our sins and ask Godís forgiveness. But then arenít we freed from that remorse? Isnít that sin a closed chapter in our lives? God doesnít want us to feel guilty about the cross Ė after all, grace is a gift. The Holy Spirit is a gift. Gifts arenít meant to make the receiver feel obligated or indebted. ďBe joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not put out the Spirit's fire;Ē (1 Thessalonians 5:16-19 ) NIV

The cross should set us free, not imprison us to the giver. Is it in Godís character to hold us hostage to His loving nature? I have talked about looking back to the past several times. But for the believer, sin is in the past. Our attention does not need to be focused on tracking it down, following it, and retracing it. So stop beating yourself up over this. Satan tries to keep our past stirred up, to undo the work of the cross and to control us through the bondage of guilt. Crucify the old man and embrace the new man.

Donít look back to death. Look forward to life.

Do not weep. Celebrate and rejoice!

Set the crying towels aside! Christ is not dead. He arose.

Christ is alive. And so are we!

Jesus said, ďSo with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. In that day you will no longer ask me anything. I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.Ē (John 16:22-24 ) NIV



*dmc David Michael Carpenter: Dave wrote the first paragraph in this article, as well as the responses to the first four dreams (Witch, Sand Storm, Funeral, and What If?).

Dave is a composer/musician from Vancouver B.C., Canada. Please feel free to visit his site and check out some samples of his work. Dave really has a heart for leading others to Christ. And for encouraging those who are already Christians to deepen their faith and their relationship with God. Sharing his love for Christ is what his music is all about.

Listen to David Michael Carpenter's music.

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