Discerning His Body

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I Corinthians 11:27-32 (NIV), “So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves. That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. But if we were more discerning with regard to ourselves, we would not come under such judgment. Nevertheless, when we are judged in this way by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be finally condemned with the world.”

We already discussed discerning the blood of Christ and how important that is in our walk with God. Equally important, but not as widely accepted is understanding the broken body of Christ.

At the last supper, Jesus is talking to His disciples and He hands them the cup of wine. Their Lord tells them that it is His blood and to drink every drop. Then He hands them some flatbread and rips off a chunk, passing it around and says that it is His body. What is Jesus telling these men? Has He changed the wine and bread into flesh and blood as He changed the water into wine at the wedding feast? No. He is using an object lesson, one of many. The wine is representing the blood that He will soon be pouring out on Calvary. The bread represents His body, soon to be ripped to shreds by a cat o’ nine tails, and pierced by thorns, spear, and spikes. When they see the blood flowing from that cross, and see His once whole skin, marred and broken, He wants them to remember His words that He shared with them that night. He wants them to remember that He did it for them.

It is easy for most of us Christians to accept that Jesus died in our place, if we hadn’t we wouldn’t call ourselves followers of Jesus. We have accepted that God loved us so much that He sent His only son and that Jesus loved us so much that He willingly laid down His life so that we can live free from sin and shame. However, for a lot of Christians it is hard to accept that there is more to Salvation than just a get out of Hell free card. Salvation isn’t “fire insurance”.

More was done on that cross than most of us realize. Salvation is a package that has many gifts inside. We have been washed clean and forgiven for all of our sins. We have received a new heart and a new spirit. Our family is now a heavenly one, and our Father is God. There are too many promises and scriptures, for one small devotion, to name them all. In a nutshell salvation means we are saved, delivered, and healed. Look the word up. It includes an abundant life.

I Peter 2:25 (Weymouth Translation), “The burden of our sins He Himself carried in His own body to the Cross and bore it there, so that we, having died so far as our sins are concerned, may live righteous lives. By His wounds yours have been healed.”

Specifically we see in I Peter that His wounds, those stripes left by the Roman whip, the nails, the thorns, that spear thrust all were for a purpose that transcends a torturous death. He submitted to those wounds so that we could be healed. I know, it doesn’t make sense with our natural mind, but not much in the Kingdom of Heaven does, but it is Truth. God said it and He never lies. Reading I Corinthians 11 in the light of I Peter 2 reveals much about discerning the blood of Christ.

Read this again, “That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep.” Why are we sick and why do so many of us die before our time? Because we don’t understand that our healing has already been purchased. We aren’t waiting to be healed, begging to be healed, just suffering through until God decides to do something. No, He already did! We believe it, tell the Devil, command our bodies to line up with it, and stand in faith; we walk out the promise of God. It is easier said than done. I know. Over fourteen years I suffered with anxiety and Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Praise God, I don’t anymore. In fact I hardly ever even think about it or remember those hard times anymore. We have to get this into our hearts. How can we take ground when we are spending all our time trying to defend our own little area? God’s people need to walk in their authority. Us. Me. You.

It takes practice. It takes courage, but don’t fret, the Joy of the Lord is your strength. When we start to get this and we see results, talk about faith rising up in you. And suddenly you have another testimony, another opportunity to share how good God is. At the risk of sounding redundant, read your Bible. Do a search healing, health, and the Body of Christ. We are His body. How can the body of Jesus be sick? How can His body be weak?

God does not send sickness; He doesn’t cause birth defects, mental defects, or mental illness. All disease (the state of being not at ease) is from the enemy who comes to steal, kill, and destroy. God gives us life and life more abundantly. Stand on that. Rebuke the Devil soundly and remind Him that you have been blood bought.

He took those stripes, He poured out His blood, and He did it all willingly. Don’t ever let it be for nothing. Take hold of that love and hang on with all you’ve got. Live from Heaven!

Second Chances

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The Bible says that Noah “found favor in the eyes of the Lord.” Because he listened and was obedient his whole family was saved from the devastation on the earth due to the flood. The only remaining eight people on the planet!

The Bible isn’t clear about the beliefs of Noah’s wife, sons or daughter-in-laws. We do know that Ham saw his father in a drunken, naked state and shamed his father by boasting about it to his brothers. Some even believe that Ham’s sin was something even worse. We do know that from the time of the flood to the tower of Babylon was around six generations (scholars vary on the amount of time). So what happened in those six generations? Who dropped the ball? Talk about a second chance. Don’t you think that the story of the ark was a favorite bedtime story for all of the kids, grandkids, great grand’s, etc. They wasted their second chance.

Our own children can be like that sometimes. Growing up in church. Knowing the word. But never having a personal experience with God. Somewhere along the long genealogy the personal relationship was let go. They ‘practiced’ their religion out of duty or tradition. Or possibly they started to believe that the story of the flood was just that, a story. Each of us has to reach a place where we build a relationship, personally with God. Unfortunately, that sometimes has to happen in the midst of a crisis.

Then there is the story that Jesus tells about the man who was forgiven a great debt, only to run out and demand repayment from someone who owed him a very small amount, (Matthew 18). What did the unmerciful servant do with his second chance? He used it to be a jerk. His end was worse than his beginning.
“’You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you? In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.”

His original sentence would have just been jail time for an unpaid debt. Now he was to be tortured until the debt was repaid. (Which basically would have been never). How could he ever earn enough without being able to work? He was like us. We owed a debt we couldn’t pay.

Before you despair, there are plenty of people in the Bible who did wonderful things with their second (and third and forth) chances. Let’s do a quick rundown of a few.

Rahab, saved the spies, her life and the life of her family was spared and now she is listed in the genealogy of Jesus.

Ruth was forsake all to go with her mother in law, after they lost all the men in their family. She took her second chance and placed it in the hands of Naomi’s God and she too is in the genealogy of Jesus.

How about David? He was continually given another chance. He sinned with Bathseba, had her husband killed, lost the child from that sin, but repented and went on to be a great King. He invented instruments, wrote songs and psalms and instilled worship into the church.

The whole city of Ninivah took the second chance offered by God, through the disobedient Johan, and the whole city was spared.

Every disciple, but Judas, took their second chance and they changed the world. Peter became one of the leading heads of the early church and went out to the gentiles after having denying Christ!

There are more, in the bible, in history, and in the Church.

What will you do with your second chance?

My Heart

Some of us are afraid to give our hearts to God, or at least our “whole heart.” We have this silly notion that our heart has compartments or pieces like a jig saw puzzle. Then we think “if I give my whole heart to God, what will I have left for my family?” or worse yet, “If I give my love away, and don’t get any back, then those compartments will be empty, and I’ll run out of love!” We picture our hearts like a puzzle with missing pieces, just giving parts of it here and there and never getting them back. Or perhaps we have had our hearts broken and feel like it has been shattered, and the broken shards are scattered to the wind. God showed me a wonderful picture today of my heart and the truth about my heart!
God said, “Give me your whole heart, and I will tear down all walls and dividers. No longer will your heart have compartments, it will be one big open vessel. Then I will pour in My Love! I will fill the vessel with MY LOVE. Then when you start loving others, not expecting anything in return, it stops being a vessel and becomes a SPRING! A spring that never runs dry! Then your love for others will be from this source and it will be more pure and strong than what you have now!”
If your heart has been broken, HE can put it back together, or even better, create a brand new heart for you. Accept HIS LOVE and HE will make your heart a Spring of Living Water. Why does God want our hearts? God said in Romans 2 “Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?” and in 1 Peter 2:9 “But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are a kingdom of priests, God’s holy nation, and his very own possession. This is so you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.” When we accept God’s love and give it to others, we show the goodness of God! When we give Him our whole heart, holding nothing back, we accept more readily everything He has for us. He blesses our socks off, and then we can bless others! When we can love, whether they ever love us back, it shows God’s goodness! Give God your heart! HE LOVES YOU! He wants nothing less, is not satisfied with only part of us, He wants all of your heart.