Monday, March 26, 2012

This is my Body...

Luke 22:19 (NKJV) And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me." 

When you think of someone's body, you probably think of their physical body. When Jesus said, "this is my body", He had more than the physical body in mind. In the above verse, the word body comes from the Greek word so-mah. The Greek word so-mah, comes from the root word, so-zo. The word so-zo can be translated to the English word saved, or the word healed, or the word whole. So the best literal translation of my body would be whole me.

To gain a better understanding of the Greek word so-zo, we can look to see the different ways it is used in Scripture. First, look at John 3:16-17, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved." The last word, saved, comes from the Greek word so-zo. We know that our physical bodies will die some day so we know this is not a physical saved, but a spiritual saved.

Second, see what Luke 7:50 says; "Then He said to the woman, 'Your faith has saved you. Go in peace."' This story in Luke is about a women that washed the feet of Jesus with her hair. The Bible makes no mention of physical infirmities rather it simply tells us that she had many sins (see Luke 7:39--50). When Jesus said, "your faith has saved you", He said your faith has so-zo you. The Weymouth New Testament puts it this way, "Your faith has cured you." Since this was not a physical healing---it had to be an emotional healing.

Third, Matthew 9:22 tells us, "But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour (KJV)." The word whole comes from the Greek word, so-zo. This passage is referring to a physical healing. The woman had an issue of blood for twelve years (v. 20, 21).

When Jesus was arrested, the punishment began. Jesus was beaten, spit on, insulted, and literally shredded by whips (Mat. 27:29, 30, & 41, Lu. 22:63--65, Joh. 19:1). He was nailed to a cross naked, people made jokes about Him and insulted for another six hours. In the end His Father had to turn away from Him and He gave up His Spirit (Mat. 15:34, Joh. 19:30). He was punished, body, soul and spirit.

So when you break bread, remembering what Jesus did---remember this---He gave Himself, His whole self, so you could be healthy, fit, and strong---body, soul, and spirit. Come to the communion table with praise. He gave you this wonderful gift, he wants to see you happy about it!

Communion is like vitamins. make it a regular part of your relationship with Jesus and you will see the benefits.

Be Blessed!

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Power of His Name

John 16:23 (NKJV) And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you.

How does the name of Jesus get its power? How do we activate the power in this name? The Bible says in John 1:12, "But to as many as did receive and welcome Him, He gave the authority (power, privilege, right) to become the children of God, that is, to those who believe in (adhere to, trust in, and rely on) His name— (AMP)". Notice that it says, to those who believe in His name. If we understand it---we will believe, and the power will increase the more we believe.

In the Old Testament, God dwelt among His people in a tent-like structure called a tabernacle (Ex. 25:8). In this tabernacle, a priest would meet with God on behalf of the people. The children of God had to communicate with God through a priest. The priest had to go through a very specific procedure to be sanctified. This was necessary to meet with God, the procedure protected the priest from receiving judgement for sin.

When the priest would enter the most holy place of this tabernacle, he brought with him a golden pot of burning coals with incense (Lev. 16:13). The Bible says in Revelation 5:8, "...golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints." In simple terms, the priest carried the prayers of the saints before God.

Now back to our Scripture at the top. The verse begins with the words, in that day. This verse comes from one of the Gospels. The Gospels, the first four books of the New Testament, took place before the cross. The words, in that day, refer to the time after Jesus would be sacrificed on the cross.

When Jesus ministered on the earth, He ministered as High Priest. The Bible says in Hebrews 9:11, "Christ came as High Priest." While Jesus was still on the earth, He was our connection to God. He took our prayers---golden bowls of incense---before the Lord. Jesus was sacrificed on the cross to sanctify us, so that we could meet with the Father directly. The Bible says in Revelation 1:6, "[Jesus] made us kings and priests to His God and Father."

When we declare the Name of Jesus---we declare what He did for us. This one simple Name means so much. This name means everything provided by the cross. When we say Jesus, we are saying we know our authority. We know that we are part of the most powerful family in existence. Our Dad created time, space, and matter with one sentence (Gen. 1:1). When we use the name Jesus, we are saying that we can bring any situation before our Dad, and He will take care of it. It is a warning to our enemies.

Knowing that name gives us every benefit of the cross. Because of the cross we can come boldly before the father (Heb. 4:16). Because of the cross, we have been redeemed from all the curses listed in Deuteronomy 28, sickness, soundness of mind, poverty, family troubles, and any kind of bondage (Gal. 3:13). Because of the cross, God Himself lives inside of us (1 Joh. 4:4). The cross, put the enemy under your feet and he will by no means hurt you (Lu. 10:19).

It is not just a name. It is everything that the cross is. Think about that when you use it.

Be blessed!

Monday, March 12, 2012

An Explosion of Joy

Acts 16:26 (NKJV) Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone's chains were loosed.

Acts 16:25--34 gives an account of the apostle Paul and his assistant Silas in Prison. Paul and Silas are in chains after having been beaten and thrown into a dungeon (see Acts 16:37). It was the midnight hour and Paul and Silas were praising God and singing hymns. Suddenly there was an earthquake and immediately the prison doors were opened and everyone's chains were loosed.

The prison guard---thinking the prisoners escaped---was about to kill himself. Paul stopped the man and instead, the man and his entire household were saved and baptized. All this began after Paul and Silas praised God. So how did this release God's power?

The Bible says in Nehemiah 8:10, "Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength." It seems ridiculous to believe that someone chained and in a cold dungeon, would want to sing praises. They were singing because of a very special joy. It was the joy of the Lord. It was a powerful, supernatural joy.

Now look what Nehemiah goes on to say in verse 12, "So the people went away to eat and drink at a festive meal, to share gifts of food, and to celebrate with great joy because they had heard God’s words and understood them" (Neh. 8:12 NLT). That second last word, understood, can also be translated to the word know. The people not only heard God's Word, but they knew God's Word. This produced the joy of the Lord.

The apostle Paul and Silas knew God on a very personal level. They may not have known what was going to happen, but they knew that God was with them. They had a revelation of God's love. They knew that no matter what they faced in the natural, the supernatural power of God was with them. This same awareness can trigger the joy of the Lord for you in your toughest situations.

I am quite certain, Paul and Silas were praising God with a real desire to do so. From my own experience, the awareness of God's presence often gives me a desire to praise Him. The best way to continuously sense the presence of God is to get to know Him. The best way to get to know God is to fellowship with Him.

Talk to Him continuously throughout your day. Spend some time reading the Bible. Fellowship is both ways. You talk---you listen. The more you talk to Him---the more you will hear Him. As you get to know God in this way, you will see joy released even during your difficult situations. When the joy of the Lord is released, the power of God is released.

If you want to experience joy---get to know God and His word. If you talk to God continually, His Word will come to life when you read it.

Be Blessed!

Monday, March 05, 2012

Look to the Cross

Romans 8:37 (NKJV) 37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.

One day when I read the verse above, I noticed that it said that Jesus loved us in the past tense. At first this seemed odd to me because I know that His love never ends. I asked God why sometimes the Bible uses passed tense as it does in the Scripture above and waited for an answer. Later on, I was talking about this with my wife Michelle. While we were discussing it, I heard in my thinking, look to the cross.

God wants us to realize everything that was paid for on the cross. Of course, He always loves us but we need to remember how He demonstrated His love. Take a look at some more interesting verses from another book in the Bible. The Bible says in Ephesians 3:18-19, "[That you], may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height--to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God."

First, notice the four descriptive words used to describe the vastness of God's love. The words are width, length, depth, and height. The original words in Greek actually mean wide, great, deep and high. In the original language, they describe a cross.

Second, take note that it says that the love of God is beyond knowledge, even more than we could comprehend. Last, it says that the more we know how much God loves us, the more we get filled with the fullness of God.

Now look at the next verse, Ephesians 3:20, "Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,"

So what does this mean? Jesus gave Himself to be hung on a cross to provide unlimited love and unlimited God on the inside of us! Jesus was the righteousness and perfection of God. God became a man. This was the only way to provide a true perfect sacrifice. Any other sacrifice would have been less than perfect. The righteousness of our sacrifice replaces our sins. This was the only way for us to obtain true righteousness---it was a gift (Romans 5:17).

Jesus suffered physical, emotional, and even spiritual punishment. He suffered as a human. It was a long torturous and painful death. His flesh was ripped open, His bones were exposed and this was before being nailed to a cross and humiliated for six hours. I personally believe that He suffered more than any human ever has or ever will suffer. He received judgement for our sins and the payment was more than enough.

Of course He will always love us. What He did proves it. If you want to experience exceedingly abundantly above all that you could ask or think, look to the cross and comprehend what He did for us.

Be Blessed!