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Posts Tagged ‘theology’

I heard someone say that Jesus did not come to make good people better but make friends of the very enemy’s of God.

Something deep within me cry’s out ” true, true”.

The Truth is,

Jesus said in Mark 10:17-27 there was none good but God

17 Now as He was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” 18 So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. 19 You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Do not defraud,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’20 And he answered and said to Him, “Teacher, all these things I have kept from my youth.” 21 Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.” 22 But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

23 Then Jesus looked around and said to His disciples, “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!” 24 And the disciples were astonished at His words. But Jesus answered again and said to them, “Children, how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
26 And they were greatly astonished, saying among themselves, “Who then can be saved?”
27 But Jesus looked at them and said, “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.”

David said it in Psalms 14:1-3

1The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God ” They are corrupt, they have committed abominable deeds; There is no one who does good. 2The LORD has looked down from heaven upon the sons of men
To see if there are any who understand, Who seek after God. 3They have all turned aside, together they have become corrupt; There is no one who does good, not even one.

Paul Said it in Romans 3:10-11

10 As it is written: “ There is none righteous, no, not one; 11 There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God.

So we are not good we are not righteous. So if we are not good then Jesus did not come to make us better SO what did He come for?

Here are a few of the reason’s

To do the Fathers will.

John 6:38-40: “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 39 “This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. 40 “For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.”

To save us

John 3:17 “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.

Mat 18:11 “For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.

1 John 4:9 By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him.

1 John 1:1-4 We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.

To fulfill the laws requirement of the penality of Sin

Mat 5:17 “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.

1 John 4:10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

To be the Light of the World

John 12:46 “I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness.

To rule as King and testify the truth.

John 18:37 Therefore Pilate said to Him, “So You are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”

To destroy the works of the devil and Give Life more abudantly.

John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.

1 John 3:8 The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil.

The church has lost a few things I believe the Lord is about to give back. It will be painful to many and many will be offended and turn away. The one thing that stands out,  we have lost the historical view of of the depravity of man. We actually need to be saved. Out side of Jesus there is no eternal life only eternal punishment.

Salvation as laid out in the book of romans.

Romans 1:20-21: “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.”

Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God.”

Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates His love toward us, in that, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Romans 10:9-10 “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

Romans 10:13 “For whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.”

We have lost the ability to repent and the concept of obedience. In most churchs the first act of obedience being baptism is not even mentioned. The anabaptist’s were killed for their obedience yet we are scared to death of this verse. Not to mention the “gift of the Holy Ghost” We have lost that as well the very one who convicts the world of sin righteousness and judgment. Lord Help Us!

Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

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January 13th early in the morning my wife Dianna woke me up and told me “you sure are sleeping loud” I knew it was true I had been dreaming I was back in Africa and I had been dropped into the middle of devastation. I was working to get orphans into homes. It was overwhelming, one minute I was in Africa the next I would be back in Missouri. Then the dream slowed down into slow motion. I had been trying to get someone to explain to me what had brought about such devastation in Africa and how I ended up in the middle of it all.

There it was the longest train I had ever seen, it was a old coal burning train. It was pulling passenger cars and on each car was written Show Me Orphan Train. In the windows were little faces pressed against the glass. At this point I am crying looking into the faces of desperation to be loved, it was overwhelming. In the dream Linda a 20 year old Ugandan girl that is living with us while going to college pointed at the children and said “John it’s about them” I woke immediately with all kinds of emotions.

I thought about the meeting I have today with my friends from Alma Missouri introducing them to Gizaw my friend from Ethiopia who will be talking to us about the need for orphanages in Ethiopia. I thought about our friends John and Sharon who minister in Kenya that had just been at the house talking about the conditions there. I thought about my own experiences in Uganda, Egypt and Ethiopia.

Then I thought about a teaching that Regina Shank does on overcoming rejection and She tell’s stories about the orphan trains that would move from the east coast to the Midwest dropping off children to waiting families. Of course there are some bad stories about abuse and using the kids as slave labor. As a whole the Midwest provided homes, I myself have a great grandmother who was an orphan and was taken in to a wonderful family in Beatrice Nebraska.

Here is an advertisement below that appeared in the Troy Free Press Feb 11, 1910. Troy is in Lincoln County.

Wanted
HOMES for CHILDREN
A company of homeless children from the East will arrive at
TROY, MO., ON FRIDAY, FEB. 25th, 1910
These children are of various ages and of both sexes, having been thrown friendless upon the world. They come under the auspices of the Children’s Aid Society of New York. They are well disciplined, having come from the various orphanages. The citizens of this community are asked to assist the agent in finding good homes for them. Persons taking these children must be recommended by the local committee. They must treat the children in every way as a member of the family, sending them to school, church, Sabbath school and properly clothe them until they are 17 years old. The following well-known citizens have agreed to act as local committee to aid the agents in securing homes:
O. H. AVERY   E. B. WOOLFOLK   H. F. CHILDERS
WM. YOUNG   G. W. COLBERT
Applications must be made to, and endorsed by, the local committee.
An address will be made by the agent. Come and see the children and hear the address. Distribution will take place at the
Opera House, Friday, Feb. 25, at 1:30 p.m.
B. W. TICE and MISS A. L. HILL, Agents, 105 E. 22nd St., New York City. Rev. J. W. SWAN, University Place, Nebraska, Western Agent

 orphantrain1.jpg

Orphan Train in Black & White – Diamond Someday “above”

Here are the words to a blue grass song: Orphan Train “below”

By (Utah Phillips)

Once I had a darling mother, though I can’t recall her name
I had a baby brother who I’ll never see again
For the Children’s Home is sending us out on the Orphan Train
To try to find someone to take us in

cho: Take us in, we have rode the Orphan Train
     Take us in, we need a home, we need a name
     Take us in, oh won’t you be our kin
     We are looking for someone to take us in

I have stolen from the poorbox, I’ve begged the city streets
I’ve swabbed the bars and poolrooms for a little bite to eat
In my daddy’s old green jacket and these rags upon my feet
I’ve been looking for someone to take me in

The Children’s Home they gathered us, me and all the rest
They taught us to sit quietly until the food was blest
Then they put us on the Orphan Train and sent us way out West
To try to find someone to take us in.

The farmers and their families they came from miles around
We lined up on the platform of the station in each town
And one by one we parted like some living lost-and-found
And one by one we all were taken in

Now there’s many a fine doctor or a teacher in your school
There’s many a good preacher who can teach the Golden Rule
Who started out an orphan sleeping in the freezing rain
Whose life began out on the Orphan Train.

Well I have to get going and get ready for Church, I just wanted to get the dream down before I forgot it. I hope it will stir you up to pray for those all over the world that have no place to call home and no one to call family. They need to know they have a father who has declared so from heaven. Some times we need to be reminded as the church we are His hands and Feet and more than that we are His Family with open arms and open eyes.

Psalms 68:4-6  Sing to God, sing praise to his name, extol him who rides on the clouds– his name is the Lord– and rejoice before him. 5 A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. 6 God sets the lonely in families, he leads forth the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.

Part 2   https://riverflowsdown.wordpress.com/2008/01/16/show-me-orphan-train-dream-part-2/

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Dianna and I just got back from seeing Bucket List. I feel asleep not because it was boring but because I had been up since 3 am and had worked until noon. It definitely was not a christian movie with some strong language and a soft message that implied all roads lead to heaven. There was however a cord struck in my heart. Living Life unshackled by fear and not waiting until the last moment to do something about it. 

The question is raised if you knew exactly when you were going to die what would you do different. I think the biggest enemy for a christian is fear. Fear of failing. Fear of rejection. Fear of being alone. Fear of making God mad. Unless we have experienced the depths of the Love of Christ we shrink back in fear.

In Paul’s apostolic prayer in Ephesians perfect Love is made clear. 

Ephesians 3:14-21
14 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; 17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. 20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, 21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

If we are operating in fear or sitting back doing nothing because of fear realize that’s not coming from God, but the enemy. Power Love and sound mind now that comes from the Lord.

2 Tim 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

Fear when it runs its course will torment you, friends the answer is in the Love of Christ, as we return with our whole heart to Him and rest in that Love that fear must flee.

1 John 4:18  There is no fearin love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

With a heart free of fear and made perfect in love we can live life without regret and live life to its fullest. What a difference we can start making in the lives of our family and friends not to mention strangers. They are waiting!!! 

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 Jesus, God’s only begotten Son, and at the same time He was a man’s Man. During His 33 years on the planet He created He related to real every day people and knew how to get to Them. My favorite hook He used was that of the fisherman. Jesus was calling these rough young fisherman to be become His disciples and He caught them with a word picture they could understand “I will make you fishers of Men”.   

Mark 1:14-18, 14 Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, 15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel. 16 Now as he walked by the sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. 17 And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men. 18 And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed him.

Let me tell you how Jesus hooked me the same way. It started back with John William Gross my grandfather who by trade was a lineman for Kansas city power and light but at heart He was a river rat. From the time I could cast my zebco 33 grandpa went to work teaching me how to tie a knot that wouldn’t break and how to take a hook out of the fishes mouth without getting stuck. Above all He gave me time and attention.

Years later as an adult I was in the back yard working in the garden when our neighbor Denver Stark ventured over and said “the Flathead are moving up grand river”. I told Him I had never fished for Flathead and asked Him if He could teach me how. He did and that lead to the greatest summer of fishing I have ever experienced.

My wife’s cousin Jeff Arnold and I took His canoe up the river with a 5 gallon bucket of live bait fish and limb lines that we tie off on good green limbs. We set our lines and went to make camp. We had just started a fire when we heard what sounded like a deer crossing the river. As we watching the bank up river about 50 yards no deer came in sight. The splashing continued and we thought oh no that poor deer got tangled in our line. We jumped in the canoe and paddled away. It was just getting dark and the green limb was under water. I leaned over the side and found the line and lifted it up slowly and then the hardest jerk you can imagine sent my heart into fast mode. I reached for the dip net and 20 minutes later Jeff and I wrestled the Big Cat Fish in the boat. Here is the picture of me with my first of many big cat’s.   

flat-head.jpg

Not to far in time from this picture God hooked me. I had been a Christian for about 10 years. I was working with the youth, doing a lot of prayer, writing music, doing jail ministry you know normal Christianity. I had just read a book that had challenged me to ask the Lord if I had any hidden sin issues so deep that I had even hid them from myself. Nothing happened for several weeks then it happened. My wife Dianna had me sit down and told me to brace myself. I was not braced enough. She told me that Her best friend at the time Karen had married my arch enemy Kevin. Karen was a Christian He was not, and She had asked Dianna if I could befriend Him hoping to get Him into church. Dianna had explained there was bad blood between us and that might not be good. I went off, yelling and screaming, then I remembered what I had prayed and could not believe I had so much bitterness built up inside. Even after much prayer and repentance it took two weeks for me to agree to meet with Kevin. We had a meal together, and we both felt uneasy but worked hard, mostly to make the wives happy. We eventually became friends and Kevin starting to come with us to Church and about 6 months later during an alter call He went up. My good friend Steve Lovelace and I prayed with Kevin as He asked Jesus to forgive Him of His sin and asked Him to come into His heart. There was a massive change in lifestyle and we were all so happy. Several weeks later Kevin was killed in a head on collision by an oncoming truck.

You have no idea how glad I am that I asked the Lord to reveal any hidden sin like unforgiveness. I am so glad the Lord was and is faithful and longsuffering. If we want to catch the big fish we MUST lay our nets down and follow Jesus. What an adventure ahead, Happy Fishing.

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I have been a student of Church history for some time. I, like many others have noticed a parallel between natural Israel and the Church in the last 100 years. I may not be able to prove this by multiple scriptural texts however there is shown below the idea that Adam was the first natural man and the spiritual man came later, Jesus / Yeshua / יֵשׁוּעַ

  In similar fashion Israel was the natural bride of the Lord and the church being grafted in becomes the spiritual bride.

1 Cor 15:45-48 ,45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. 46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. 47 The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. 48 As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.

We know that after the destruction of the temple in 70 ad that both the Jews and the church was hunted and persecuted. The dark ages took it toll on both true followers of Jesus and the Jews. After the dark ages came the reformation, and understanding of justification by faith was reintroduced to The church. Layer after layer of truth was rediscovered by the church. At the same time the idea was forming in the hearts of Jewish people to return to their homeland of Israel.

At this point I will loose you if you are a cessationist that is ““the belief that the miraculous gifts such as healing, tongues, prophetic revelation, and supernatural knowledge pertained to the apostolic era only, served a purpose that was unique to the era before the New Testament was complete, and passed from use before the canon of Scripture was closed.”

I believe the gifts are still for today and should be used in accordance with scripture. With this view in mind Theodor (Binyamin Ze’ev) Herzl  founded the Zionist political movement which 50 years later led to return of the Jews to their land Israel. At about the same time revival broke out in Wales and America with pentecostal expression which eventually became corrupt in some cases. Great endeavors to take the gospel to the ends of the earth flowed out of this movement

In 1948 Israel became a nation as Jew’s returned home after 2000 years of exile. At the same time another revival broke out in Canada and spread through out the US and abroad. This movement too became defiled after several years and many distanced themselves from it but not before great advancement was made with taking the Gospel to the four corners of the earth.

In 1967 Israel in the 6 day war expands it territory. At the same time the Jesus People Movement began in 1967  

jesus-movement.jpg Monday, Jun. 21, 1971 : Time “The Jesus Revolution” Quote ;Not so, however, for the vast majority in the Jesus movement. If any one mark clearly identifies them it is their total belief in an awesome, supernatural Jesus Christ, not just a marvelous man who lived 2,000 years ago but a living God who is both Saviour and Judge, the ruler of their destinies. Their lives revolve around the necessity for an intense personal relationship with that Jesus, and the belief that such a relationship should condition every human life. They act as if divine intervention guides their every movement and can be counted on to solve every problem.

1973 Israel in the Yom Kippur War after being attacked overcame and ended up extending her borders to all of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights, and the Sinai Peninsula. At the same time the Charismatic Movement began with Dennis Bennett in Van Nuys, California.

Here we are 2008 the 60 year anniversary of Israel is coming up in May. American President George Bush today January 10th 2008 has called for Israel to return to the pre 1967 war territory / bounderies.

In my recent blog https://riverflowsdown.wordpress.com/2008/01/09/israel-its-borders-should-not-shrink/ I have listed the scriptural evidence for Israel’s borders and warned we must not take part in changing God’s plan. The writing is on the wall, if we force Israel to go down this path, and a peace treaty is signed in May around the 60 year anniversary it will parallel what will happen in the church. We will loose ground if we don’t cry out for mercy. It seems many of the prophetic voices I have respected for years have gone silent about these issues seeing they have made a covenant with the Republican party and have closed their eyes to God’s standard.  I am a conservative republican because of the pro-life platform but the buck stops here for me. I will continue to pray for our leader’s of course, but I will not pretend wrong is right.

It is high time to to cry out for Israel and the Jewish People and that G W hears and listens to Godly counsel. There will be no lasting peace in the middle east outside of the prince of peace Jesus / Yeshua / יֵשׁוּעַ

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Fighting Fingers

Psalms 144:1 Blessed be the LORD my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight:

King David understands The Lord is His strength and His teacher and that He taught His hands to war. But come on now His fingers to fight that sounds like a three stooges episode with a finger poke to the eyes. Unless you consider the story of King Saul who had crossed the line of disobedience with the Lord. An evil spirit had come upon Saul and the future king young David was called upon to play the harp in which God had anointed Him to use for praise and worship. As He played the spirit left.

I love that story as you read it below let it sink in so deeply ! 

1 Samuel 16:14-23 14 But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD troubled him. 15 And Saul’s servants said unto him, Behold now, an evil spirit from God troubleth thee. 16 Let our lord now command thy servants, which are before thee, to seek out a man, who is a cunning player on an harp: and it shall come to pass, when the evil spirit from God is upon thee, that he shall play with his hand, and thou shalt be well. 17 And Saul said unto his servants, Provide me now a man that can play well, and bring him to me. 18 Then answered one of the servants, and said, Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, that is cunning in playing, and a mighty valiant man, and a man of war, and prudent in matters, and a comely person, and the LORD is with him. 19 Wherefore Saul sent messengers unto Jesse, and said, Send me David thy son, which is with the sheep. 20 And Jesse took an ass laden with bread, and a bottle of wine, and a kid, and sent them by David his son unto Saul. 21 And David came to Saul, and stood before him: and he loved him greatly; and he became his armourbearer. 22 And Saul sent to Jesse, saying, Let David, I pray thee, stand before me; for he hath found favour in my sight. 23 And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.

 Praise engages our heart’s with the Lord but there is an added benefit that is often overlooked it is a weapon against our arch enemy. David must have remembered how the demon fled as his fingers strummed the harp. 

 Psalms 149:6 Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a twoedged sword in their hand;

There is a connection between praise and war, remember this story?

2 Chron 20:14-22 14 Then upon Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph, came the Spirit of the LORD in the midst of the congregation; 15 And he said, Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the LORD unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s. 16 To morrow go ye down against them: behold, they come up by the cliff of Ziz; and ye shall find them at the end of the brook, before the wilderness of Jeruel. 17 Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the LORD with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them: for the LORD will be with you. 18 And Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground: and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell before the LORD, worshipping the LORD. 19 And the Levites, of the children of the Kohathites, and of the children of the Korhites, stood up to praise the LORD God of Israel with a loud voice on high. 20 And they rose early in the morning, and went forth into the wilderness of Tekoa: and as they went forth, Jehoshaphat stood and said, Hear me, O Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem; Believe in the LORD your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper. 21 And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed singers unto the LORD, and that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, Praise the LORD; for his mercy endureth for ever. 22 And when they began to sing and to praise, the LORD set ambushments against the children of Ammon, Moab, and mount Seir, which were come against Judah; and they were smitten.

If under the old covenant God inhabits the praises of Israel how much more the church as she lifts up the name of Jesus in praise in the midst of hard times well it certainly can not hurt.

Psalms 22:3 But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.

Jesus in our midst?

Matt 18:20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

Paul and Silas experienced the Lords intervention and as they prayed and praised God all heaven broke loose and this was seen as normal new testament Christianity

Acts 16:25-34 25 And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. 26 And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed. 27 And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled. 28 But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here. 29 Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, 30 And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? 31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. 32 And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. 33 And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway. 34 And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.

The bottom Line is Jesus is awesome and He has real answers as we realize we actually need Him, I do!!!

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Let me introduce to you Susie Jones. I was introduced to Her by my Friend Joanne Norton. Susie has great insight for and about the body of Christ. After taking an honest look at the church, world wide we would have to say it is sick and weak and I would add paralyzed. As you read Susie’s life experiences below, I would challenge you to be part of seeing the body of Christ healed by asking Jesus to once again be the head and respond as He leads.
susie-and-grandson.jpg
What are the chances?! I was 22, 2 days shy of my 2nd wedding anniversary and 3 months pregnant. Suddenly the bottom fell out. Car accident, spinal cord injury, paralyzed from the chest down. Bummer! Major, major bummer. But, the good news is, I knew the God that answers prayer. Unfortunately, I didn’t know Him very well. Fortunately, He knew me extremely well … as in, “For it was you who formed my inward parts.” And He wanted me to know Him well.  Lots to learn, lots and lots to learn. And I have, and I will continue to do so. Learn that is. But it isn’t always easy. 
You’re more than likely familiar with 1 Cor. 12:25-26 The way God designed our bodies is a model for understanding our lives together as a church: every part dependent on every other part, the parts we mention and the parts we don’t, 26 the parts we see and the parts we don’t. If one part hurts, every other part is involved in the hurt, and in the healing. If one part flourishes, every other part enters into the exuberance. My body serves well as an object lesson for that verse. My head and arms are still very much intact. But it takes the whole of the body, working together, to achieve maximum health and well-being. What happens when the whole becomes the fraction? Think 2/3 paralyzed; 1/3 not. Well, at times, chaos reigns.
The head (brain) continues to send signals to the entire body. But the message is short-circuited. It is either garbled or doesn’t get through at all.  Surface feeling is lost, and you are no longer aware of those things that would threaten to bring harm to your body. The cat may scratch; you’re not aware. You stay in one position too long and the blood supply is cut off and sores develop; you’re not aware. Bones that don’t meet resistance become porous and weak. Muscles in one part of the body overcompensate for muscles that are no longer functional. One becomes taxed; the other becomes atrophied. There are times when my body is at war with itself. The very organs that are designed to eliminate the bad, the toxic, the waste become an “aider and abettor” … a harbinger of “germ warfare.” The antibiotics you take to heal, kill off both the bad and the good bacteria, and super bugs develop. Soon you are robbing Peter to pay Paul and a cycle develops in which the body may eventually succumb to the “miracles of modern medicine.” No, it doesn’t happen overnight. It is a process. For me, a 40-year process. But then, there is God. That is also a process. A process of learning to trust. A process of learning the ways of a God that delivers, a God that is faithful, a God that heals, a God that walks you through the valley of the shadow when you aren’t even aware that He is present. You’d like a burning bush. It’s more likely to be a still, small voice. There are times when you feel utterly forsaken and you think you’re alone, but you’re not. There are times when you despair of life itself only to discover that He is life, life unlike any other. And there is grace, grace beyond all that you could ask or think or begin to imagine. And there is always his standing invitation, “Come unto Me.”
But hold on a minute. Let’s consider the body of Christ.  We like to refer to it as the church. What happens when that body is cut off from the head which is Christ Jesus? What happens when communication is either not received or it is not received correctly? The body no longer feels the pain of its other members, the more “uncomely parts.”  Wounds develop that aren’t immediately visible, and they rot inwardly until they become visible outwardly. [Think pressure sores … interesting, the word pressure. Whether external or internal the wound is real.] Those same wounds have to be daily debrid and packed to insure that a surface healing doesn’t occur and leave the deeper wound festering inside. What happens when all the body’s members don’t work together to insure wholeness, and one part can’t fulfill its function and the other part becomes dominant and eventually suffers due to excessiveness?  What happens to that body when “sin lurks at the door,” and it is not dealt with in a timely manner? When the “blood” supply is cut off? Well, let’s go back to I Cor 12:14b-24. The Message Bible makes it fairly clear. 14b A body isn’t just a single part blown up into something huge. It’s all the different-but-similar parts arranged and functioning together. 15 If Foot said, “I’m not elegant like Hand, embellished with rings; I guess I don’t belong to this body,” would that make it so? 16 If Ear said, “I’m not beautiful like Eye, limpid and expressive; I don’t deserve a place on the head,” would you want to remove it from the body? 17 If the body was all eye, how could it hear? If all ear, how could it smell? 18 As it is, we see that God has carefully placed each part of the body right where he wanted it. 19 But I also want you to think about how this keeps your significance from getting blown up into self-importance. For no matter how significant you are, it is only because of what you are a part of. An enormous eye or a gigantic hand wouldn’t be a body, but a monster. 20 What we have is one body with many parts, each its proper size and in its proper place. No part is important on its own. 21 Can you imagine Eye telling Hand, “Get lost; I don’t need you”? Or, Head telling Foot, “You’re fired; your job has been phased out”? 22 As a matter of fact, in practice it works the other way – the “lower” the part, the more basic, and therefore necessary. You can live without an eye, for instance, but not without a stomach. 23 When it’s a part of your own body you are concerned with, it makes no difference whether the part is visible or clothed, higher or lower. You give it dignity and honor just as it is, without comparisons. 24 If anything, you have more concern for the lower parts than the higher. If you had to choose, wouldn’t you prefer good digestion to full-bodied hair?
At age 22, I may have opted for full-bodied hair. But I am older now and hopefully wiser. And good digestion is a good thing – a very good thing, both physically and spiritually. Else how would we digest the “meat,” Paul talks about? The meat of the word. The meat of daily prayer and communing with the Lord. Strong meat.  
We are given a commission.  We are told in the gospels to go into the world and  “preach the gospel, heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons ….” A fairly straightforward commission. A simple enough plan.  Until we have tweaked the gospel to the point where it is so politically correct that the power, the passion, the life, the salt and the light are not only indistinguishable, they are completely gone. And yes! The blood. The blood without which the natural body has no life. The Blood without which the church body has no life. The shed blood. Let’s remember the message of Romans 1:16 – For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. 
It takes a body that is totally dependent on receiving clear communication from the head. It takes a body in which none of the members are cut off from the blood. “This is my blood, shed for you.” Jesus gives the clear command. “Go, and preach the gospel*.
*Mark 16:15-18 – And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; 18 they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

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