2014: The Year of Victory Over Death and Manifested Love!
“Faith and fear are spiritual forces..one is faith in God and the other is fear of death.” Bishop Keith Butler, founding pastor of Word of Faith International Christian Center Church in Michigan, uttered these words as he delivered his annual New Year’s Eve sermon. Bishop Butler added, “All fear is fear of Death.” His words struck a chord within me as I remembered the events of September 11. For two years following this catastrophic event, I refused to fly as a means of travel. The idea of stepping aboard a plane scared me as I thought about the terror those innocent victims of 9/11 must’ve felt in their final moments. Truthfully what I feared most was death. Eventually those fears subsided as I trusted God to keep me alive and fulfill my destiny. The verses of Psalm 91 soothed me: “If you say, ‘The Lord is my refuge,’ and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.”
The significance of spiritual themes
This year’s spiritual theme is timely because we live in a fallen world. Death surrounds us and people are living in a constant state of fear. Jesus prophesied about this time: “Men’s hearts will fail them for fear and for looking upon those things which are coming on the earth; for the powers of heaven will be shaken” (Luke 21:26). You cannot listen to the news without hearing reports about death: school shootings, terrorists attacks, natural disasters, outbreaks of disease, workplace violence, rumors of wars, etc. What is the antidote to all this death? Jesus promises us the gift of “abundant life”. As believers we are not subject to death as the world experiences it because we belong to the One who has conquered death. Jesus declared: “The thief cometh but to steal and to kill and to destroy. I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). The word “Life” in the Greek is “Zoe”, which has several meanings. In its simplest definition it means “Iife.” In addition, it can mean “a life active and vigorous, devoted to God, blessed..” Also, it can mean the “absolute fulness of life…which belongs to God”. Jesus came that I might have absolute fulness of life in great abundance. All I have to do is believe and receive His gift.
In 2014, expect Jesus to reveal himself to you as the Conqueror of Death and the Lover of your Soul. When a spiritual theme is revealed, we are receiving a picture of how Christ will unveil himself to us in the coming year. Spiritual themes are not just catchy phrases that we occasionally mention throughout the year or we hang on a banner behind a podium. Spiritual themes are prophetic utterances that unveil a facet of Christ’s person to us. When Jesus ministered to people in His earthly ministry, he always revealed a facet of His character. For example to Lazarus and Jarius’s daughter, He was “The Resurrection and the Life”. To the 10 Lepers, He was the “Healer”. To Moses, He was “I AM”. To the Demon-Possessed Man, He was the “Deliverer”. To a grieving Mary and Martha, He was the “Comforter.” To Peter, He was “The Christ, Son of the Living God.” To the children of Israel, He was the “Passover Lamb”. Each person that Jesus encountered beheld a unique facet of his character. Jesus is like a multi-faceted diamond, which shines with glorious brilliance. According to diamond companies, it is the arrangement of the facets which give diamonds their brilliance.
Behold Jesus as the Conqueror of Death and the Lover of your Souls! and you shall see your life transformed in 2014. “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18).