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Did I Tell You, You Have a Great Body?

I hope the title got your attention. I mean every word of it! To understand why I think you have a great body let’s take a look at God’s Word.

17 And though we are many, we all eat from one loaf of bread, showing that we are one body. 18 Think about the people of Israel. Weren’t they united by eating the sacrifices at the altar? 

1 Corinthians 10:14–17 NLT

When we come together in our local church and participate in Communion – Lord’s Supper – Eucharist, we are not just connecting as a local Christian community; we are sharing in the Communion that all Christians share. We are one body. (1 Corinthians 12:12–27)

These verses about the Lord’s Supper show the spiritual aspect of participating in this distinctively religious ceremony. When we understand what we’re doing, then the Apostle Paul’s warning makes sense:

29 For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30 That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. 31 But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged.

1 Corinthians 11:29–31

We join with other Christians in Holy Communion; its spiritual requirements are similar to those God, through Moses, gave to the Israelites concerning the laws about the ark of the covenant. 

9 But the Lord killed seventy men from Beth-shemesh because they looked into the Ark of the Lord. And the people mourned greatly because of what the Lord had done. 

1 Samuel 6:19

Often, modern Christians take no thought about God’s requirements, let alone anything spiritual. However, our views and opinions do not negate God’s will. So, when we take Communion, we need to be in right standing with God. To be in right standing, we need to confess, repent, and receive God’s forgiveness and cleansing for our sins so that we take the cup and the bread as pure children of God, living in obedience to Jesus our Lord and in right standing with all the saints of God.

Hey, you are part of the same loaf of bread I am. We are one body, and it looks good!

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The Righteous Rise

Today’s post was born while I was reading the book of Proverbs. Some of you may not identify with the subject – good – but for those of you who do, I pray it helps with heals and encourages.

Back in the 1970s, there was a famous singer/songwriter. He was the first “rock star” of the Jesus Music movement, so, being at the front, he received vicious verbal abuse. Many sermons were preached against him. There is little doubt that he struggled to live a holy life. He was a flawed person; I can’t throw the first stone (John 8:7). However, when I began my return to Jesus, his music provided a bridge for me. I was a 1970s hippie playing in a rock and roll band. Larry showed me how I could live for Christ.

Shot Down

Larry was known for changing the lyrics to his songs with no advanced notice. The two verses I’ve included from his song “Shot Down” had at least six versions. The one I used is #6. Here are two of the verses:

​I’ve been shot down, talked about
Some people scandalize my name
Here I am, talking ’bout Jesus just the same

I’ve been knocked down, kicked around
But like a moth drawn to the flame
Here I am, talking ’bout Jesus just the same

– Larry Norman (1947-2008)

God’s Wink

Before we move to God’s Word, I want to share how God winked at me.

In the 1990s, my family and I returned from the mission field dazed and confused. We had a house in Florida, a family in Indiana, and a job offer for me in Salem, Oregon. We moved to Salem. We settled in and began searching for a church home. We found one and loved our time there.

We were active in the church and praised God for blessing our family with a great church home. One day, I learned that our church home was also Larry Norman’s. Salem, Oregon, was where he lived. I felt like God winked and had a small grin when He let me discover this.

One Wednesday evening, Larry did a brief concert and Q&A for the church’s youth group. Some adults also attended, including my wife and me. God allowed me to tell Larry what a positive impact he had on my life. My wife took a picture of us standing together. This was before digital cameras, so, sadly, the pic wasn’t very good, but I still have it.

It Was Not Just Larry

If we read Acts 17:5-8, we learn about the time a riot broke out because lies were told about the Apostle Paul.

Jewish leaders were jealous of how God was using Paul, so they rounded up some known troublemakers to form a mob and start a riot – I’m glad this never happens today. So, the mob was out for blood. They searched everywhere for Paul but didn’t find him; they did find where a Christian man named Jason lived. They attacked his home.

Angry that they’d failed to find Paul or even Silas, they dragged Jason and some other Christian before the city council. The lies poured out like water from a broken water heater. Yet, even when Paul’s destruction was attempted by a mob, Paul didn’t throw in the towel. He and Silas went to the town of Berea and preached there.

Now the Bible Verse

for the righteous falls seven times and rises again,
but the wicked stumble in times of calamity
.
Proverbs 24:16

I am now old enough to have observed God defend this promise many, many times for His children. So, if you’ve been shot down, kicked around, or people have scandalized your name if people have lied about you, stolen from you, or harmed you by their evil plans, be of good cheer. By the righteousness of Jesus, you can rise again. Jesus said that His way of life was hard (John 16:33), but there is a great reward waiting for us when we successfully finish our race. You’re not a loser if you’ve been knocked down as long as you get back up; the righteous rise up!


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But God

I heard a preacher once say, “The word ‘but’ changes time and circumstance.” I’ve found this to be a trustworthy statement.

The Time of the Jews

There was a point in time when God brought Jacob, the one that held the birthright of Abraham, and his family to Egypt. God used Joseph to set the stage for the time of the Jews.

As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.

Genesis 50:20

The Time of the Gentiles

When we read about Peter and Cornelius and the birth of the dispensation of the Gentiles (everyone that isn’t born a Jew), we see in the book of Acts God is changing time and circumstance.

“Peter told them, “You know it is against our laws for a Jewish man to enter a Gentile home like this or to associate with you. But God has shown me that I should no longer think of anyone as impure or unclean.”

Acts 10:28

That “but” from God has changed the lives of over two billion Gentile Christians! If we go all the way back to when Joseph confronted the brothers that betrayed him, we find a profound “but.”

The Time of Salvation

As for Jesus, our Savior, we have perhaps the most important “but” in all of God’s Word. Satan thought he’d beaten God, but God raised Jesus from the dead! God changed the times and circumstances and defeated the enemy in the process.

And when they had carried out all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree and laid him in a tomb. But God raised him from the dead,

Acts 13:29-30

The Change of Circumstances

God’s sovereignty over time and circumstances is something we can rest in. I’m reminded of what Mordecai told Queen Esther.

“For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

Esther 4:14

Good News

Has God changed times and circumstances in your life for such a time as this? When you think back, have there been moments when your life changed from a “but God?” I rejoice in the “but God” times in my life. I know there were several times when I should have died, but God wasn’t ready for me to leave this world.

I hope you take a moment and thank Him for the “but God” times in your life.


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We May Fall

A few of you may know that I have a medical condition. One of the symptoms is that I fall a lot. Yes, I have a motorized chair, but for me personally, I want to fight as long as I can against living in that chair. I am determined to use my leg muscles as long as God provides strength in them.

During the handful of years that the chair and I have battled each other, I’ve fallen on concrete, hardwood floors, ice, and frozen ground. Each time it hurt. But after each fall, I did a quick self-check, and when I found nothing was broken, I got up. I may have gotten up just to spite my powerchair, but the point is that I got up. In my mind, I would say, “See! My time for walking isn’t over.”

If We’re Human, We Fall

Falling is part of being human. As toddlers, we fall a lot. If we fall and haven’t hurt ourselves, we just get up and continue to see how many pots and pans we can pull out before we stand on our mothers’ last nerves. When we enter school, we take P.E. classes that often result in falling, perhaps to avoid a wild pitch or from snagging our feet while jumping hurdles during track meets. Every physical sport I can think of has at least the potential for us to fall. Of course, we fall in love, fall for a practical joke, and, for many of us, our favorite season is fall.

We Rarely Fall While Gripping Something Solid

It’s a rarity for a person to physically fall hard while gripping something substantial. We take our most brutal falls when we have nothing close by to grab hold of. Take it from an expert; we fall when we aren’t holding on. Our walk with Jesus has us walking through a world filled with slippery slopes, quicksand, muck, and mire. We may briefly slip while walking in this world, but we will fall if we stop holding on to Jesus.

When a Christian falls, he or she has had a lifetime of experience that should have taught him or her to get up. So, as Christians, why is it that if we fall, our reaction is just to stay put? “Well, I fell, so I’m no good to Jesus,” an embarrassed Christain says. And why do many Christians look at the Christian that fell and judge them harshly? Haven’t we learned from a lifetime of falling that it’s not the fall that defeats us; it’s the not getting up?

Slow is Good

“But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.”

Psalm 86:15.

The word “slow” tells us that God is the God of another chance. We don’t become angry the first time a child makes a mistake or even the tenth time. But there is a point when a parent has had enough—God’s like that. He expects us to learn and grow.

Good News

If we fall and get up but refuse to cling to Jesus, our next fall will be much worse. But if we desire to change, the Holy Spirit will show us, Jesus will call us, and the Father will accept us, when we seek forgiveness with a contrite heart. But we will face a severe lesson if we try to find out how far away from Jesus we can get and still not fall.

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Release from Old Memories 

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”  

2 Corinthians 5:17

Perhaps it’s just me, but sometimes, I have flashbacks from my past, memories of things I’ve done that were selfish, socially clumsy, or countless other mistakes I’ve made. These memories only last long enough to send me down mental rabbit trails that are spiritually unfruitful. For a long time, I fought against them, seeing them as a spiritual attack. But recently the Holy Spirit showed me how to deal with them. 

I discovered these flashbacks are a two-fold blessing from God. First, the first time an old memory attacks me, I take it to Jesus. If it was a sin, then I confess it and ask Christ for forgiveness. Then I thank God for His mercy and grace that permeates this memory. Mercy, from my Father, is enough to provide a way for me to be forgiven and grace for His great love to extinguish the power of that flashback. Once it’s dealt with, it no longer has power over me. I am free indeed from that memory’s condemnation. 

The second blessing is that, from God’s grace, each flashback shows me my growth in Jesus. That old memory is not the event itself but only its imprint in our minds. It is not the wave but the imprint of the wave on the sand.  

By God’s mercy, His forgiveness drains the power of old memories. Old memories provide me with “one time” to confess and ask for forgiveness; after that, I simply enjoy my new nature. By God’s grace, I see my growth as a follower of Jesus.

These flashbacks become blessings instead of condemnations through God’s mercy and grace. That’s just how good God is to me. His mercy and grace are equally available to you. Let’s all advance with God instead of wasting His grace by putting ourselves under condemnation.


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It Just Takes 3

And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

Matthew 4:19
  • It Just Takes 3
    1. A spiritually lost person
    2. A person that will tell the Good News of Jesus
    3. A church that is committed to correctly teaching the Whole Bible

That is how so many people in the world have been saved and have grown to be fruitful, loving Christians. It just takes 3. That is what we need to remember.

Jesus expects each of us to give all of our life to Him, but He has not made it complicated for us to be “fishers of men (Matthew 4:19).” Here’s how it works: A person in need hears the Gospel of Jesus and a local church comes alongside them. The result is growth. The lost are saved, the fishers of men become more effective, the local church becomes healthier. It is not difficult. It just takes 3.


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Dance for Job

The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.
Psalm 28:7

It is easy to run right by this verse when we read Psalms 28, but there is a gift for us in this verse. The Holy Spirit, through King David, is telling us that we can go ahead and let our hearts “dance for joy1” even before we have received God’s mercy.

The phrase “my heart exults” means “dance for joy.” So, if our hearts trust2 in God3, then we know we will receive God’s mercy. We are not being presumptuous. Instead, if we are in the right relationship with God, then His mercy is reliable. We can rest assured that His mercy will be given to us. So, go ahead, rejoice. Let your heart dance for joy!


1 – Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers
2 – This is, our hearts trust in the Lord.
3 – That is, we have received God’s great salvation only available through Jesus Christ.

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Good is God

Seek good, and not evil,
that you may live;
and so the Lord, the God of hosts, will be with you,
as you have said.

Amos 5:14

When we read the Bible, we need to pay attention to the context of the verses. Amos 5:14 is a great example. When we read something like, “seek good,” what God is telling us is to seek Him.

Let’s remember: And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. Mark 10:18 Of course, Jesus is God the Son, but He was telling the rich, young ruler to pay attention when he spoke of spiritual matters. That’s a good lesson for all of us.

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Presumptuous Sins

Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me!

Psalms 19:13

Definition of Presumption:

  1. Behavior or attitude that is boldly arrogant or offensive; effrontery.
  2. The act of presuming or accepting something as true.
  3. A condition or basis for accepting or presuming something.

God’s Word never ceases to astonish me. Somewhere in His Word, He addresses everything that matters. While reading Psalm nineteen, I came upon this verse. Of all the big things like Jesus, salvation, redemption, reconciliation, and resurrection, just to name a few, God stops for a moment and tells us that there is danger in presumption.

Now, I have not met everyone in the world, but I am confident that all of us have gotten ourselves into hot water because we presumed to know something that we didn’t. 😉 How much more dangerous is it to presume something about God. Yikes!

Let’s all be humble, truthful, and accurate in all we say, and even more so when it comes to God’s Word.


References

American Heritage® Dictionary

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Blessed is a Christian word. It is a spiritual word. It is a Biblical word. And it has been hijacked by our culture. It is worth noting that Jesus both began and concluded His earthly ministry blessing people.

First – Jesus Turns Water into Wine

John 2:2-3,10
2 Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples.
3 When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.”
10 “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.”

Last – Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit

Acts 1:8-9
8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
9 And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.

At the beginning of Christ’s earthly ministry, he blessed His mother and the bridegroom. At the end of His earthly ministry, He blessed His disciples with the promise that they would receive the Holy Spirit. At the start and end of Jesus’ earthly ministry, He was blessing by doing the miraculous to others.


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