Category Archives: Proven Path Ministries

One Step At A Time

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This week in my community it has been graduation season. My social media news feed has been filled with milestones. There have been preschool graduations, kindergarten graduations, elementary school completions, intermediate school completions, jr high completions, and high school graduations. I love seeing the posts of excited moms and dads boasting in the accomplishments of their children.

When I was growing up I don’t remember all these graduations. I think we just celebrated high school. Today it seems that social media has opened the door for us to celebrate every momentous parental accomplish we feel we have seen. All these graduations and completions I believe can be used to help us set up our children stepping stones to get them through life. Which personally I think is pretty great.

The steps of a man are established by the Lord, And He delights in his way.

Psalm 37:23

Perhaps it is better that we train our children to focus on reaching just that next step instead of just pointing out to this imagined beyond that may or may not be there for them. After all didn’t Jesus teach us to pray, “Give me this day my daily bread” (Matthew 6:11). I think focusing on the current step and not looking too far past the next step helps us to be present in the moment. Too often we have our minds set on the fulfilled accomplishment of the future plan and we miss the preciousness of the current moment which very well could cause us to miss the very next step and the plan all together. The moments matter.

The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps

Proverbs 16:9

This week I took my middle child to college to take a compass test for dual enrollment and my youngest will be in 7th grade next year. As parents, we have been standing on the steps still with our children. We have gone with them each and every step.

Beach steps 1

My husband and I have prayed with them and talked with them and studied them and sought the guidance of the Lord for each and every step. We have five more steps until we send them out to steps of their own. Five more steps to make sure they are fully prepared.

The naive believes everything, but the sensible man considers his steps. 

Proverbs 14:15

As their parents our job has been to train them to consider their own steps as diligently as we have considered them as we lead them from one to the other. For many years we never even asked their thoughts on the next step. It was our step to make. It was our job to seek the Lord and be careful to obey Him as He pointed the way. It was our job to teach them by example as we taught them through our own obedience to the directed steps of God.

Beach steps 1.5

I know, O Lord, that a man’s way is not in himself,
Nor is it in a man who walks to direct his steps.

Jeremiah 10:23

Then at some point and time we began to kneel down to them and point out the different paths and ask, which step does the Lord say we should we take? We had trained them. We had walked with them. They were no longer naive. Yet, they still needed us by their side to walk with them on the way to make sure they did not stray.

Beach steps 2

They needed to learn for themselves how the Lord makes clear the next step if we are willing to be still and wait and listen to obey. Yet they still needed to know that we were there to say, yes I agree, I believe that’s the next step! When it’s the Lord next step for you it is sure and stable even if it has you standing in the midst of a storm.

Beach steps 3

You enlarge my steps under me, and my feet have not slipped.

Psalm 18:36

The Lord’s next step will never cause you to stray from the path of His commands. Never.

Our heart has not turned back, and our steps have not deviated from Your way…

Psalm 44:8

That doesn’t mean that the next step will be easy or problem free. It just means that you will have peace. Peace is something that you cannot have unless you are good with God. You can be at odds with man and the whole world, but if you know that you are standing on the step that God provided for you, then you can indeed stand with the gospel of peace on your feet. If we have prepared our children and pointed them in the right direction then we do not send them out to step alone…

For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps…

1 Peter 2:21

Beach steps 4

If we have been following in His steps, then we have been teaching them to follow in them as well. We have five more steps and then we send them off to follow Him… trusting God and trusting them.

Indeed, He loves the people;
All Your holy ones are in Your hand,
And they followed in Your steps;
Everyone receives of Your words.

Deuteronomy 33:3

For now we still we walk with them closely, but soon they will begin to take steps that we cannot go on with them. For they are His steps for them alone.

We have already watched one step out on her own. We held our breathe as we saw her stray from His path… but we trusted the God who loved her even more than we could imagine, that He would only allow her to stray so far.  He proved faithful. The Word of God poured into her heart in her youth did not return void. 

When we stand there on that last step and let go to let them step on their own. We don’t send them out alone. The steps are theirs alone, but God never leaves them to step alone. The great joy and promise that we have as we wave them off and cheer them on is that the steps, though different, if they are following Him, all lead us back to the same place. They lead us all home to Him!

Beach 5

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Life’s Battle Plan

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I first wrote this post, Life’s Battle Plan, in May of 2008 in my Facebook notes before I had a website. This post showed up in my Timehop app memories. I found it interesting that it did, because I had just been to hear, Keni Thomas, one of the soldiers that was involved in the Battle of Mogadisho (or more known as  “Black Hawk Down”) speak only a few short days before. Keni came to share some things he had learned from training for this battle, things he learned in this battle, and things he learned after this battle. His focus for the group he was speaking to was to train to be prepared for when you were handed the baton of leadership, that really was in your hand all along, because we are all leading someone.

I was trying to take notes in my phone as he spoke. One of the first notes I wrote was “train as you fight, because you will fight as you train”. When I skimmed my post from 2008, I saw that I had written those exact words as I studied from the Word of God in 2 Chronicles as I learned from Jehosaphat. Another note I had taken from Keni’s sharing was the three steps for battle: Plan, Train, Lead. Once again I noticed that back in 2008 from 2 Chronicles 20, the Lord had taught me that very same strategy. I called it, “Life’s Battle Plan” . The word of God remains eternally relevant.

My now edited 2008 post begins below:

David stood before Goliath, his enemy. David stood against the man standing before him in representation of everything that stood against the LORD, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. David stood before Goliath in no authority or power of his own, but instead he stood in representation of his God. He stood before Goliath in complete faith and confidence in the ability of the One True Living God. David stood in faith and God delivered as promised.

We all face Goliath. Satan hasn’t given up yet. Our flesh has not been glorified yet. We all face our giants and enemies. If we try to defeat them in our own strength we will be crushed. However, if we stand in faith and in full confidence in the ability of the One True Living God, we will see deliverance. 

One of the first truths the Lord led me to as I studied David facing Goliath, was the need to first recognize the enemy. So many times we are in a spiritual battle and we don’t know it. We blame other people. We blame our circumstances. We camp out on bitterness and grudges and pity parties. We hate people, including ourselves and we feel caught in a downward out of control spiral.

We feel the whole world is against us and no one understands. So we go into isolation mode and put on a fake smile and struggle through another day. Never accomplishing the amazing things God had planned for us, because we are to busy fighting the wrong enemy.

John 8:44 tells us that the devil is a murderer from the beginning and a liar. He is the father of lies. Ephesians 6:12 tells us that we battle not against flesh and blood but against spiritual forces. 1 Peter 5:8 tell us that the devil is a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.

If you have ever watched Animal Planet or the Discovery channel you know that a lion lays in wait stalking out the herd looking for the weakest, the youngest, the hurt, the easy prey. Satan is the same way. The next time you are in your worship service imagine Satan and his demons in a corner of the church/synagogue slouched down scoping the crowd looking for his kill.

Would you be an easy target?

Are you trained for battle?

This is next or really first. Training for battle. You have to learn how to use you weapons. Read Psalm 18:30, John 8:32, 1 Corinthians 9:24-27, 2 Corinthians 2:16, 1 Peter 1:13-16. You fight only as hard as you train.

The Word of God is your ultimate weapon. Mark 4:24 says “by your standard of measure it will be measured to you.” In other words, you’re only going to get out of the Word what you put into the Word. You can’t fight with weapons you don’t know you have or know how to use. You can’t recognize a lie when you have never read the truth.

When it comes time for battle the first thing you do is pray. Seek His face. Seek His help. God took me to 2 Chronicles 20. I believe it is an amazing example of the truths in this battle plan.

In 2 Chronicles  20 we read of how a great multitude came against Israel. It was actually three nations against one. “Jehosaphat [the king of Israel] was afraid and turned his attention to seek the LORD“(2 Chronicles 20:3). The first thing Jehosaphat did to prepare was pray. Prayer is our direct line to the throne of God. Read 2 Chronicles 20:3-4, Psalm 27:7-10, Acts 16:25, and Ephesians 6:17-18. Prayer is one of your weapons of warfare, use it.

In 2 Chronicles 20 the next thing we see is Jehosaphat and all the people of Israel bowed down and worshiping the LORD. They had not went to battle yet. They had not yet received a victory or deliverance, but they worshiped. We must worship our God because He is God.

Worship is a weapon of warfare. Our God will not allow His worship to be given to another. He is always worthy of our worship, whether He delivers us or not. Remember Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Remember Job as he cried out in Job 13:15, though He slay me, yet will I praise Him.

Read 2 Chronicles 20:18, Psalm 29:2, Hebrews 12:2, 28-29, and Revelation 5:6-14. Our enemy hates it when we continue to worship the One True Living God. Can you just see Satan losing his mind, kind of like the Grinch, when the Who’s sang the song even though he’d taken everything they had?

After the worship we see Israel praise. The Levites stood up and praised God with a loud voice! Oh Praise Him! Praise His Holy Name. God still had not delivered them yet. The battle was still ahead. The enemy was still coming, but they praised the LORD their GOD! Read 2 Chronicles 20:21-22, Psalm 34:1, and Acts 16:25.

After Israel prayed, worshiped, and praised, they stepped out in faith and headed out to face the multitude that had came out against them. God had promised that He would deliver them (2 Chronicles 20:15-17), so they took Him at His word and went to battle. We have to take God at His word and trust Him. He is faithful. We must have faith in Him and in His ability and in His word. Read 2 Chronicles 20:24, Psalm 31:23-24, 1 Corinthians 16:13, and Hebrews 11:6.

Do you know what the awesome thing is? God said that He would fight for them. He said that He would go before them. He said that He was with them. And while Israel was worshiping and praising their faithful God, He turned their enemies against each other. When Israel showed up to fight there was nothing but corpses on the ground. While they were on their face before their Holy God, He was fighting for them!

This One True Living God, the God of Israel, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob wants to be your God. He made the way for “whosoever will ” through the new covenant of Jesus Christ. Jew, Gentile, slave, free, male, female, He wants to fight for you! Read Psalm 27:1-6 and Psalm 111.

YES! READ! READ! READ!

Read of the amazing things He has done. The awesome promises He has given you. Learn who you are in Him and in His mighty power. Learn who He is. He is a mighty and awesome God and holy is His Name. He is Jehovah-jirah, the LORD our Provider and Jehovah-nissi, the LORD our Banner. He is El Shaddai, the God Almighty!

So here is our life’s battle plan:

  • Recognize the enemy
  • Train for battle
  • Pray
  • Worship
  • Praise
  • Go in faith

Keni Thomas had broken down the battle plan into three steps:

  • Plan
  • Train
  • Lead

Those three steps say it all.

There was another profound point that Keni made as he shared. He made the statement, “the enemy always gets a vote.” Think about that one for a bit. When we plan and when we train, we have to remember that the enemy gets a vote. If we expect all to go according to our plan, we are already deceived and defeated. We have to train for the unexpected. We have to train for different scenarios. We have to NEVER stop training.

 

 

The Armor of God, Standing Firm in Spiritual Warfare Review

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I am reviewing another book by Gregory Brown from his Bible Teacher’s Guide collection. This book focuses on Ephesians 6:10-20.

Armor of God

In The Armor of God: Standing Firm in Spiritual Warfare, you will learn how to stand against the enemy’s attacks— protected by the full armor of God. This Guide can be used as a five to eleven week small-group curriculum, depending how the leader chooses to divide the introduction and the ten principles about standing firm. Every week, the members of the group will read a chapter or more, answer the questions, and come prepared to share in the gathering. Each member’s preparation for the small group will enrich the discussion and the learning.” (pg 11)

Brown’s studies are great for a small group. There is no homework involved other than reading the Scriptures involved and a short chapter. Each chapter concludes with four to six “reflection” questions to help you apply what you have learned. These questions are also useful for the small group leader in order to help open up the door for discussion each week.

This particular passage of Scripture is vital for all believers to know and understand. I have Ephesians 6:10-20 written out in my bathroom, kitchen, and office. I keep this passage posted before me so that I can always remember who the real enemy is and how I can defeat him. In our lives it is so easy to be convinced that the fault lies with flesh and blood. Satan wants to make those that God called us to serve, love, and share the gospel with our enemies. He is able to easily deceive us if he can keep us out of the Word of God and distracted from prayer.

Brown writes on page 89 – 90,

Paul talks about spiritual warfare in this final section of Ephesians. In Ephesians 6:10-17, he details the believer’s need to be filled with the power of God, and also to put on the full armor of God in order to stand against the attacks of the devil. The armor of God represents attitudes and actions that believers must practice to win on the spiritual battlefield. It includes the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the footwear of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit. No Christian soldier can win without them; however, even these are not enough. We must pray in the Spirit.

We can see Paul’s emphasis on the importance of prayer in two ways. First, he writes more about prayer than about any other piece of armor. He uses three verses to teach on prayer in the Spirit. Also, praying in the Spirit is the seventh piece of armor. In Scripture, seven is the number of completion. This means that one can be suited up with every other piece of armor and yet still lose the battle. Praying in the Spirit is a necessity.

Prayer is the energy and atmosphere in which we wage war. Believers must live in prayer at all times in order to win this spiritual battle. It is how we are strengthened in the power of God, and it is how we put on the full armor (cf. Eph 6:10-11).

It’s not enough to just have this passage of Scripture posted in my house. It’s not enough to just read it and quote it. I must understand the power in the meaning behind this passage. God’s Word is not an enchanting spell we quote and wave over our problems and hope for the best.

God’s Word is life. It is light. It is our only weapon to wage war with the enemy of our souls. To properly use a weapon we must be trained in it. We must have experience with it. In order to have confidence and strength with weapon we must know it and know it well.

When David stood before Goliath, Saul gave over his armor for him to wear. David, however had never been trained in this armor. He was unfamiliar with it. If he had attempted to face Goliath in this armor he would have been defeated. Goliath had been trained in this armor and had been around it for a long time. He knew the armor well. He knew the chinks in the armor and the weaknesses of it. He would have easily been able to manipulate David in and with this armor and destroy him.

I  think to many Christians are unaware that Satan knows the Word of God. He has been around it for a while. Just quoting it to him does not deter him in anyway…

But also some of the Jewish exorcists, who went from place to place, attempted to name over those who had the evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, “I adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preaches.” Seven sons of one Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. And the evil spirit answered and said to them, “I recognize Jesus, and I know about Paul, but who are you?” And the man, in whom was the evil spirit, leaped on them and subdued all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.

Acts 19:13-16

David defeated Goliath because he came before him in faith and confidence in a weapon with which God had personally well trained him.  Beloved, can you comfortably and confidently wear the armor of God? How well trained are you in the weapons of our warfare?

This Armor of God study is a great tool to help you prepare yourself and to help you prepare others.

 

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I received this free for an honest review and amazon affiliate links have been used. Purchasing this study through the links in this post help support Proven Path Ministries.

The Invitation

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For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.

2 Chronicles 16:9

For the past two years I have served as the Weekday Education Director at Parkview Baptist Church. I had no clue that this would be a position that I would hold when the Lord brought it to me. I didn’t even know that it was available. In obedience to God I had resigned months before from a Children’s Directors position with no intentions of seeking another position. Yet, the Lord had other plans.

In his book Experiencing God, Blackaby writes,

“We don’t choose what we will do for God; He invites us to join Him where He wants to involve us.”

Henry T. Blackaby, Experiencing God

 I have come to realize the truth in this statement. Serving God is simply being willing to follow Him wherever that might be. Back before this past Christmas the Lord began to impress on my heart that my time was ending at Parkview. I wasn’t sure when that ending time would be, but I knew that the Lord would let me know.

I believed with all my heart that the Lord had used me to bring a new spirit and atmosphere into PromiseLand Preschool and I couldn’t imagine Him just throwing that out. Therefore, I knew that whoever He would bring in to take over this wonderful ministry to the community would have a similar passion and vision for parents and preschoolers. The passion that the spiritual growth and heart of the child is priority and the vision that we partner with parents and have complete transparency and open communication with them concerning their child. I believe the Lord provided that person. Mrs Carla Jackson will be taking on the position of Weekday Education Director for the 2016-2017 school year.

As for me… I am letting go in faith and waiting for my next invitation from God.

In the meantime, the Women of Proven Path, will be working on our very first women’s conference,

RELENTLESS

If you are a woman reading this, we would love to have you join us! This is your invitation from me… :-)

In my service to the Lord I have learned that we must walk by faith, live by faith, and obey in faith. When the Lord called out Abraham he didn’t tell him where he was going or give him the details of what he would invite him to do. He simply said “Go forth from… And I will…”

When we study we see that Isaiah, Jeremiah, Peter, John, Paul, and so on and so on… did not choose how they would serve the Lord. They just humbly submitted to His will and trusted Him to use them as He saw fit. Their ministry and place of service was not dictated by obligation to man, but by obedience to Christ. As His servants our job is to simply see that our hearts are fully His.

Under the cross

My Daddy took this picture of me and my mother on our last visit to Cades Cove with him. It’s me and my mother looking at the Word of God under the cross. I see this picture and it reminds me that I am to stay at the foot of the cross. It reminds me that I am to never forget that my life’s purpose is to exalt Christ.

I exalt Him through my love and service to my family (Titus 2:3-5), and His church (Matthew 16:18), and through never forgetting, “but for the grace of God…” (1 Corinthians 15:10) as I share His word and gospel in a dying world to lost and broken people who simply just need Jesus even if they don’t know it.  It is God who chooses the how, when, and where I will do these things. I am to just always be ready with my why (1 Peter 3:15).

So here I am once again with arms high and heart abandoned…

What Business Is It Of Mine To Judge

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What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside?

1 Corinthians 5:12

I understand that the world we live in is changing. Our nation that once was a shining city on a hill seems to be growing darker and darker right before our eyes. However, I am not afraid. I believe we are right in the midst of the purifying will of God. Nothing that is happening is a surprise to God.

Personally, I believe this has been a long time coming. It’s simply the world we live in. We live in a fallen, selfish, lawless world where the majority of the people have forgotten God… including those who sit in a “church” building every week. It doesn’t do anyone any good to hear the Word if they do not live the Word. It actually just makes that person harder and nastier… like Pharaoh in the days of the Exodus.

The Word is very clear that as a believer I have no business to judge anyone who is outside of Christ. I am not to judge them, but in the kindness of God I am to demonstrate love to them by sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with them. I am to speak and live the truth in love and pray that God would open their hearts and that the Holy Spirit would convict them of their sin and that God would draw them to Himself as I lift up and exalt Christ through a life lived to glorify Him. I am, in fact, to come to them as Jesus came to the woman at the well. He didn’t condemn her. He was probably the first person in a LONG time to treat her like a human being.

Sure it makes it easier to be “a Christian” if we live in a society that allows us to never have to actually choose Christ over convenience and comfort, but where do we read that in the description of following Christ? There are places I do not go and things that I do not participate in because I am convicted about giving God’s money to them or I am concerned about the safety of myself and my girls and feel it unwise to be there. This can be inconvenient at times, but it’s worth it to me.

“Morality cannot be legislated, but behavior can be regulated. Judicial decrees may not change the heart, but they can restrain the heartless.”

Martin Luther King Jr.

I really don’t know if these new bathroom laws will be beneficial. Perhaps we should also be focused on laws that allow a doctor to surgically change the sex of someone from what is stated on their birth certificate. After all a person is born distinctively male or distinctively female. It’s in our DNA make up and changing our bodies or clothing can’t altar that. We have waiting periods on divorces and guns, but do we on this? Laws focusing on those who perform them may not change the hearts of those who desire it, but it would restrain the doctors who perform them simply out of greed.

 To me the bathroom laws are like when Hercules chopped the head off the hydra, all it did was grow more heads. He had to deal with the body of the beast in order to destroy it.

The purpose of the church is to love all, and the purpose of a member of the church is represent God in every area of our life. It is not the purpose of the church to run the government but it the purpose of individual members of the church to represent Christ in the government. It is not the purpose of the church to force Christianity on anyone, but it is the purpose of the church to represent Christ to everyone.

Jesus never forced anyone to follow Him and God never forces anyone to conform to Him or His will. However, we will experience the full consequences of choosing not to. God can use us to work out His perfect plan for the ages whether we live in rebellion like Pharaoh, live in fear and failure for half our life like Moses, or live in steadfast obedience and faith like Joshua.

I would love to raise my Christian kids in a world full of melodies and butterflies, but it’s not looking to good for that, so my husband and I are preparing them to live in a world that hates them because they love Jesus. But do you know what our current day does for me as a believer? It makes me stand out. It makes me look, sound, think, and act different. In a world that screams hate, when I am found to be whispering sweet words of grace and love that does not condone sin, but instead points people to the reality that they do not have to remain slaves to it, it’s this whisper that catches the attention of the hurting… maybe not the evil… but the hurting. We have a nation FULL of hurting people.

We have a nation full of grown adults that were left to raise themselves. A nation full who were left to be taught their life convictions by the tv (and it wasn’t The Brady Bunch or Andy Griffith that they grew up watching). We have a nation full of men and women who were raised in fatherless and motherless homes by way of the selfish choices of those who were supposed to be willing to love them enough to live and die for them. We have a nation full of grown adults who were taught that they were an accident and nothing more than a glorified ape.

We have a nation full of grown adults who grew up in church being condemned, ignored, talked down to, or falsely hyped up with lies of a prosperity gospel that flowed freely from the lips of selfish men and women who, with a spirit of Balaam, told them what they wanted to hear in order to fill their own pockets and then left them with nothing to deal with the power of sin and the flesh and the deceitfulness of their heart. They either decided the people listening were too stupid to handle the doctrine of God, or they simply didn’t want them to know it, because then they would see them for who they truly were, wolves in sheep’s clothing.

I fear we have spent generations condemning sinners and giving grace to false prophets and false teachers. When we were supposed to be giving grace to sinners and condemning false prophets and false teachers. Our nation is backwards because the light started applauding the dark and we began glorifying the teachings of men and ignoring the teachings of Christ. We have too often put people on pedestals and made Christ an afterthought.

As a precept leader do you know how often I have heard Christians say that they don’t have time to study the Bible?

The world is going to get darker. Jesus told us that up front. He never sugar coated the reality of what it will mean to follow Him to the end. The world gets darker, but in its darkness the light of His church shines ever more brighter so that those who DO NOT LOVE the darkness can find that glimmer and follow it to the gospel of Jesus Christ and be transferred from this kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of Light by faith in Him.

In this world we have a bunch of people who are in bondage to immorality because they are powerless to fight against the impurities, passions, and evil desires in their own heart and minds because they do not have the Word of God dwelling in them. Many do not have the Word of God dwelling in them because those who should have it to share with them have not put off anger, wrath, malice, slander, abusive speech, and lies from themselves and therefore the message of the gospel is maligned and God is blasphemed among the lost. The true church of Jesus Christ is supposed to be known by our love for one another and our willingness to serve the least of these.

So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.

Colossians 3:12-17

In this short passage of Scripture the word thank is used three times in three different forms. After we are told to put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, to bear one another, to forgive, and to love, we are told to be thankful. This phrase is the word eucharistos and it means well, grant freely, thankful for God’s grace working out what is (eternally) good. As a true believer I am able to put this list of things on and I am able to freely grant grace because I know that God is somehow, someway, at sometime going to work out what is eternally good.

In whatever we do, in whatever we say, we have to remember that if we profess to be a Christian, we are doing and saying it in the name of Jesus. So how are you telling and showing people Jesus through your words and deeds? If you are the only Jesus they ever meet would they be willing to come to Him and lay down their lives and take up their own cross and follow Him?

I understand this world is getting a little scary. I understand the fear that can be placed in our hearts and minds as we watch the news and hear of all the calamities and perversions and simple lack of common sense that permeates the highest offices in our land and the pulpits of many loosely called churches in our midst. However, we have been commanded by our God to not fear, to not be surprised, but to be awake, prepared, and ready to give an account for the hope we have because of the One in whom we have believed.

God specifically chose us for this day and this hour…

He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation…

Acts 17:26

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Nevertheless, each person should live as a believer in whatever situation the Lord has assigned to them, just as God has called them. This is the rule I lay down in all the churches.

1 Corinthians 7:17

Does the Lord assign us to live as a believer in situations such as government and politics? Yes, He does.  So if you are there in that position, that situation, then you live for Him. Does the Lord assign us to live as a believer in situations of education and entertainment. Yes, He does. So if you are there in that position, that situation, then you live for Him. Does the Lord assign you to live as a believer in your office or on your job site, every day, before your co-workers? Yes, He does. No matter what, no matter where, we are to live for Him, through Him, and in Him so that others can see Him.

Called To A Cross

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Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.

Colossians 3:1-4

The smallest words in Scripture come with the most punch and power. The words but, now, if, so, then, when, in, with… all are small little words that when used in the Word of God are packed with huge colossal life altering meaning. We seem to read the Scriptures and let the big words like predestination, justification, and propitiation cause us to claim that the Bible is to hard to understand and to read and to teach to our children, when all we need to do is focus on the little words, because if we do, the big ones will take care of themselves.

I love every book of the Bible, but there are a few that if I was stranded on a desert island and could only have one book of the Bible I could narrow it down. I would want Deuteronomy, Psalms, John, Romans, or Colossians. Currently I am teaching through Colossians, so this one is my present favorite. The book of Colossians is so relevant to our present day here in America. We have been fed so much crap in our Christianity that we have forgotten what being a follower of Christ actually means.

As I sat and listened to Wayne Barber teach from Colossians 3:1-4 after our last class, he shared about an illustration that someone used to teach him about salvation. He shared how it was a popular one, and it was, and is, because I have heard it too. He shared how the teacher would stand up front with a quarter in his hand and tell the group of kids in front of him that whoever wanted this could come and get it. He shared how the class would always be so timid that they no one would get up, but he knew the illustration so he always got up and grabbed the quarter and sat back down. The teacher would then share how salvation was a free gift and all you had to do was receive it… and although yes, it is true that salvation is a gift and it is free and it must be received, it is so much more.

Salvation is a call to a cross not just THE cross.

Salvation is not a quarter in God’s pocket that He passes out to those who are willing to come and jump in His lap. As Wayne Barber shared a “gift” in that sense can be lost, can be stuck away, can be taken back, can be received without any personal cost, this is not the way we receive salvation.

When God calls to you, when He holds His hand out to you, it’s not filled with a quarter. It’s filled with nails, and they are held in a nail scarred hand.

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.

Matthew 16:24

Salvation is a call to die. It’s a call to enter into the death of Christ so that you can be raised with Him a new creation. The old you put off, laid aside,  done away with, no more… for you were crucified with Christ, buried with Him, and raised with Him.

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In Colossians 3:4 we are taught that we have died and our life is hidden with Christ in God. In Ephesians 2:6 we are taught that we, now alive in Christ, are seated with Christ in the heavenly places with Him. In Galatians 2:20 we are taught that we have been crucified with Christ and that we no longer live, but Christ lives in us, and the life that we live here and now in this present flesh is lived by faith in the Son of God. Salvation is not a quarter that we tuck in the pocket of our heart. Salvation is a glorious exchange.

Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “Death is swallowed up in victory.

1 Corinthians 15:50-54

Salvation is kind of like the movie “Freaky Friday” when the mom and daughter exchange bodies. Remember how the mom woke up to discover that she was now living in the daughter’s body and the daughter awoke to discover that she was now living in the mom’s body? In the mind of God your life, your eternal beautiful life, is hidden with Christ in God seated with Him in the heavenlies and Christ is now in you, and your earthly body is now His, to be used by Him, through Him, and for Him to bring others to Him. You are not your own, you have been bought at a price (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

This is the truth. This is being a new creature in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). The old you is dead and the new you is being renewed and conformed into the image of the Son of God by the Holy Spirit who now lives in you.  If Christ is in you, then you are in the process of being changed.

Remember how in the movie the hearts of the mother and daughter were changed? This crazy exchange of bodies allowed the mother to see things through the eyes of her daughter and her daughter was able to see things through the eyes of her mother and now because of this new knowledge and wisdom and revelation of truth, they were forever changed.

Beloved, Christ came so that you could finally see things through the eyes of God. Unlike “Freaky Friday” He didn’t need to see things from our perspective, He came to earth and put on flesh so that He could die for us, not so He could understand us. We, however, will never truly see or understand the mind of God unless we have come to Him and trusted Him enough to take the nails out of His nailed scarred hands and come to our own cross by way of His.

For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death works in us, but life in you.

2 Corinthians 4:5-12

This is why if you have salvation you cannot lose is, it can’t be stuck away and hidden, it cannot be taken back, and it’s freely given but it indeed comes with a cost…  You can’t die, be buried, be raised, and be placed with Christ in God seated in the heavenlies and then be unseated, unraised, unburied, and undead to be dead in sin again. That’s where that little big word IF comes in…

Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ… (Colossians 3:1)

Count the cost beloved. Jesus did and counted you worthy. Now will you do the same?

Is He worthy?

Is He, His life in you, worth the cross?

This cross will mean that you willingly choose to keep seeking Christ. It means that you are willing to die to every desire, thought, and deed that is contrary to the Word of God. It means you trust Him and His Word, not your own heart and not the words of mere man that change according to culture and personal benefit.

Is He valuable enough to you that you are willing to die daily to the old you until the day that death is swallowed up in victory and you are revealed in Him and with Him in and with glory?

Are you reading this as someone who counted the cost and said yes to the cross, but you are MISERABLE because you have let the old self be resurrected and your mind and others are telling you that God has forgotten you, that He won’t forgive you, that He never really knew you?

Hear me loud and clear…

IF you are presently living and walking in things that you know are wrong, that you know are contrary to the truth of the word of God, that you know Christ died to save you from, then beloved if you are miserable that is NOT God condemning… that is HIS MERCY calling you. He is calling out to you to come back to Him. There is only one reason that sin can make you uncomfortable and cause you to hate yourself and that is because IT IS NO LONGER YOUR NATURE! 

Christ is calling you to come, to come and repent, and let Him wash your feet…

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

1 John 1:9

Hanging By A Thread

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My church is reading through the Bible this year together. Our church has been been highly focused on the unity of the body of Christ. My husband and I picked up on this unity when we began visiting there two years ago and not long after we joined the church began purposely planning ways to grow this unity. We are all looking with hopeful expectation to see what the Lord will do through us as a local body as we grow more unified in Him through the study of His Word.

This looking with hopeful expectation is what stirred my heart in our One Year Bible reading the other day. I am currently in the book of Joshua. As I read of Rahab and the spies in Joshua 2, there was a verse that jumped out at me that I don’t believe has before in this way. That is part of the beauty and mystery of the Word of God, it’s living. You never stop learning from His Word and He speaks to you through it… if you are willing to listen.

Rahab had heard of the children of Israel along with everyone else in Jericho and all the neighboring cities around. The LORD had made quite a disturbance in the area from all that transpired in Egypt and in the wilderness up to the day that the children of Israel finally camped by the Jordan River. The once believed great gods of Egypt had been completely annihilated by the God of these Hebrew slaves and everyone was afraid and unsure of these people and this now very Known God.

Jericho had their own gods as well, all the nations did… but Rahab had decided that she was not going to trust in them. I have no doubt that God already had Rahab’s heart. It was no accident that these spies ended up at her house. This was a woman who was enslaved as well, not in physical chains, but by society and culture and the desperation to provide for her family, and I bet as the news of what happened in Egypt made its way past the walls of Jericho she cried out in her heart asking for the same deliverance that was granted the children of Israel be granted to her. The God of these Hebrew slaves, the Great I AM, heard her. He always, ALWAYS, answers a heart’s cry to know Him.

The spies came. Rahab hid them. She even lied to protect them. Then she told them how to escape and she asked them to spare her and her family when they came in to destroy the city. When it came time for the spies to leave they told her to hang a scarlet cord in the window so that they would know that she was the one to be delivered.

Behold, when we come into the land, you shall tie this scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down, and you shall gather into your house your father and mother, your brothers, and all your father’s household.

Joshua 2:18

I believe it was the spies that gave her the scarlet cord. In the book of Exodus we learn that when the Lord gave Moses instructions concerning the priest and the tabernacle scarlet yarn was a must in the carrying out of them. The curtains, the screen, the veil all were woven using scarlet yarn. All the scarlet yarn was gathered from donations given by the people of Israel which were collected from the Egyptians as they left the nation in haste after the tenth and final plague that brought the death of the firstborn of all not under the blood of the Lamb. This cord, this scarlet cord, was to be hung in her window when they came into the land.

However, it was not the scarlet cord that pricked me as I read this historical event again. Instead, this time, I noticed when Rahab hung this scarlet cord in her window.

And she said, “According to your words, so be it.” Then she sent them away, and they departed. And she tied the scarlet cord in the window.

Joshua 2:21

Rahab didn’t wait for the attack to hang the cord. She didn’t throw her opportunity for deliverance in a drawer to grab at a more opportune time. She didn’t didn’t put it in a safe place to come back to later. She also didn’t hide it in fear. She hung it right then.

How long did that cord hang in Rahab’s window?

The spies hid for three days before they even left the city (Joshua 2:22). Then they returned to Joshua and still had to cross the Jordan with all the people (Joshua 3). After crossing over all the males were circumcised and after they were healed from their circumcision they celebrated the Passover (Joshua 5). Then they still had to march around the wall of Jericho for seven days (Joshua 6).

Rahab had all that time to hang that scarlet cord. She had all that time to wait before she hung that thread of salvation in her window. Yet she didn’t wait. She hung it immediately.

She was hanging by a thread. A thread of a promise. A promise that she had placed not just herself in but all those she loved.

This scarlet cord hung in her window for all to see. She didn’t care. She wasn’t waiting for a sign of the coming attack. She was NOT taking any chances of it not being there when the time came. She was not only trusting in the promise of this scarlet cord to deliver her in the day, she was trusting it to keep her until that day.

Rahab could hang by a thread… because Rahab’s hope wasn’t in the thread of that scarlet cord, it wasn’t in the spies, it wasn’t in their promise to her. She didn’t know these men, but she knew their God. Her hope was in Him. Her hope was in the One who watched over the promise made by the spies who handed her that scarlet cord. She knew that He was no ordinary god, but He was THE GOD!

for the Lord your God, he is God in the heavens above and on the earth beneath. Now then, please swear to me by the Lord that, as I have dealt kindly with you, you also will deal kindly with my father’s house, and give me a sure sign that you will save alive my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them, and deliver our lives from death.

Joshua 2:11-13

Rahab was able to immediately hang that scarlet cord in her window because she was not ashamed and she was not afraid. She knew the One in whom she believed and she knew He was able to deliver her…

She no longer was a slave to fear. She no longer was a slave to the culture in which she lived. She no longer was a slave to the ridicule of others. She didn’t care what they had to say about that scarlet cord hanging in her window. She made a public display of her faith.

For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day.

2 Timothy 1:12

She didn’t know when God was coming for her… she just knew she was going to be ready when He came.

For this reason you also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will.

Matthew 24:44

Hiro and Microbots and Christ and the Church

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This month I am teaching the preschoolers at PromiseLand about the church. Last month I focused on Jesus and His life, death, burial, and resurrection, so obviously the next thing is the church. To make this transition from the cross and resurrection I backed the kids up to the life of Christ and what He was doing the three years of His public ministry. We talked about some of the miracles He performed and we talked about how everyone all around was talking about this man named Jesus.

In the 16th chapter of Matthew we have Jesus walking with His disciples and He asks them amidst all the fuss, “who do people say the Son of Man is” (Matthew 16:13)? The disciples ramble off several of the top declarations that were going around town, but then Jesus asked them, “who do you say that I am?”. It doesn’t really matter who others think Jesus is, it only matters who you think He is. Peter boldly declares that He is the Christ, the Son of the Living God (Matthew 16:17) and Jesus then tells him that it is upon the rock that He will build His church.

After sharing this Scripture with my preschoolers I showed them this picture,

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and I asked them if this is what Jesus meant when He told Peter that upon this rock He would build His church. At first they were not sure, but then I reminded them that we had just learned that Jesus was the Rock. So if Jesus was the rock, then who is the church? At this point I showed them a picture of a group of kids. They then learned that people are the church. We who believe are the church.

This brought me to our new verse, 1 Corinthians 6:19,

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?

Before the cross the Lord made His presence known through all creation. He has always left us a witness and a testimony of truth. Then the Lord called out Abraham and from Abraham He called out a nation to be His. This nation was to live by His laws and commands because out of them would come our Savior.

God was at work in our fallen world preserving His promise of redemption and restoration that He made to Adam and Eve all the way back in the beginning. His Spirit was placed on individuals for moments to allow them to do His will at a particular time, yet His Spirit would leave. His Spirit was with those who sought God, but now in Christ, because our sin was dealt with, His Spirit could now LIVE IN us and would never leave us again.

His Spirt in us unites us to serve Him in a way that was never possible before. This is why Jesus told His disciples,

But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.

John 16:7

As I was thinking about what this new age means, this church age, this age of Christ in us the hope of glory, and the fact that when we receive Him as our Lord and Savior we are united in Him to serve Him. As I thought about how all who believe are now supposed to be one in Him, I thought of this part in a movie called, Big Hero 6:

One lone microbot could not do much. It could not hold anyone up. It could not take anyone anywhere. It could not build upon itself. However when it linked up with all the other microbots there was nothing they could not do together.

I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.

Matthew 16:18

What made the microbots so powerful was their working in unity. They did not all do the same thing, but when each did what they were individually called to do in the group of microbots, then they were powerful.

The power behind the microbots and their unity in their individuality was the fact that each one microbot was being controlled by the same one thought. They all served Hiro. When they were no longer connected to him they were powerless. No longer held together in unity by Him, the microbots simply crumbled to the floor defeated and lifeless.

There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all. But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore  it says, When He ascended on highHe led captive a host of captivesAnd He gave gifts to men.” (Now this expression, “He ascended,” what does it mean except that He also had descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, so that He might fill all things.) And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.

Ephesians 4:4-13

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He is also head of the body, the church

Colossians 1:18

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Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self-abasement and the worship of the angels, taking his stand on visions he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind, and not holding fast to the head, from whom the entire body, being supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments, grows with a growth which is from God.

Colossians 2:18-19

The microbots are not trying tell each other what they should do and how they should do it. There are not divisions of microbots that are trying to tell the other microbots how to do the microbot thing right. No, they are each one individually connected to the head, each one being controlled by the head, yet somehow all working together in unity.

Oh church this is our greatest secret to the world. If we, each one, will hold fast to the Head, to Christ, then we will be like those microbots. We will be able to be the hands and feet and mouth and eyes and ears of Christ. We will be able to be the path of and to the Way, the Truth, and the Life. We will serve in a unity that shocks our community and our world.

One microbot didn’t turn anyone’s head. Yet when they all joined together and worked individually in perfect unity people stopped to watch. However also notice that they worked together for purpose, for benefit, for good works… not to just put on a show.

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

Ephesians 2:10

Today is Sunday. Christians will meet today all over the world. We have a choice as we meet. We can spend our time this morning talking about the world events, teaching the traditions of men, and puffing ourselves up with emotional experiences or we can empty ourselves and lay it all down at the foot of the cross and seek Christ and Christ alone.

Seek His thoughts.

Seek His will.

Seek His ways.

Seek Him.

If we will all die to ourselves and take up our cross and follow Him imagine what that would look like! United in our message, in the gospel of Christ. United in His Spirit that dwells individually within all who believe. United together in love, by love, for love. Hiro and his microbots would have nothing on Christ and His church!

Why Not Rejoice?

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Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you, and revile you, and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven…

But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.

(Luke 6:22-23, 35-36 ESV)

I was in the midst of my morning time with the Lord, ( He has been working on me fiercely these past many years) as I began crying out to Him this morning I started my prayer in remembrance of His sovereignty. I started out acknowledging that I knew that nothing happened unless it first passed through His hands and was purposely permitted by Him. I also had to acknowledge to Him that knowing these solid foundational Scriptural truths did not make the reality of these experiences any easier… and He quietly and softly reminded me that they didn’t have to… that wasn’t the point of knowing them.

Pain is pain.

Hurt is hurt.

Truth doesn’t make it go away. Quoting Scripture back to myself doesn’t make it go away. Knowing God is sovereign over it all doesn’t make it easier to bare… but that’s the problem. Who decided that it was supposed to? Who told me that lie and when did I accept it as truth? The purpose of this lie was to cause me to doubt the love that my Creator God said He had for me.

There is only one who works to cause doubt, which leads to disobedience, which leads to deception, which leads to death… and that is the enemy of old. The one who first caused Eve to doubt, disobey, deceive, and die. I will not be his victim. I will learn from the examples that the Lord has given me in His Word. I will choose to learn from Eve’s mistake instead of following in her footsteps.

I am currently reading The Calvary Road by Roy Hession. In this book I underlined these two quotes:

  1. If someone hurts and slights us, we immediately have the choice of accepting the slight as a means of grace to humble us lower or we can resist it and stiffen our necks again with all the disturbance of spirit that is bound to bring. All the way through the day our brokenness will be tested, and it is no use pretending we are broken before God if we are not broken in our attitude to those around us. God nearly always tests us through other people. There are no second causes for the Christian. God’s will is made known in His providence, and His providences are so often others with their many demands on us.
  2. So the real test along the Highway will be- are our cups running over? Have we the peace of God in our hearts? Have we love and concern for others? These things are the barometer of the Highway. If they are disturbed, then sin has crept in somewhere- self-pity, self-seeking, self-indulgence in thought or deed, sensitiveness, touchiness, self-defense, self-consciousness, shyness, reserve, worry, fear, and so on.

Who was I to think that I deserved better treatment from the world than the Son of the Living God? I belong to the One that the world hates. I belong to the One that makes others uncomfortable. I belong to the Truth teller and frankly many simply have a hard time with truth. They prefer to live comfortably in their own well-developed lie.

The past many years the Lord has been removing scales from my eyes and fairy tales from my heart. He has been teaching me to love Him and trust Him in depths that few will follow Him into. I will continue to walk deeper still. As deeply plunged beneath the blood of His Son as His hands would bid me go… I will go. I will let Him rip out every ounce of pride and selfish desires that He will that I might walk in a manner that is worthy of service to Him.

Whatever wounds I might receive cannot compare with the ones that He bore for me. I am tired of walking around this mountain of doubt and I am ready to jump off the cliff of abandoned trust. I understand that I will bounce off trees and rocks and probably fall into a few ravines that I have to crawl up out of as I make this leap, but if it brings death in me and exalts my Christ, then let it be.  I want to grow to a place in my walk with Him that allows no thing or no one to disturb the peace of God in my heart, for He is my peace.

So when hurt comes, when pain comes, why not rejoice?

Why not rejoice…

Yes, Lord I will indeed learn to rejoice.

What About God In A Body

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This morning I read a post from RZIM entitled, God in a Body. In the post Jill Carattini asks, “Far from a subject for another time or place, how might God be speaking to your physical existence even now? How does your body accompany your questions and encounters with God? In the dark and corporeal moments of Holy Week, consider Christ who walked among the world as a human body, who shared a last meal and washed the feet of his friends, who set his face toward the anguish of the cross. Consider the body of Christ, who suffered through the weight of Holy Week and now sits at the right hand of the Father as our advocate, offering his body for the sake of yours, calling you to physically come further toward him even now.”

This past week in our Colossians lesson Wayne Barber made a statement, he said, “the purpose of a body is to give visibility to an entity.” This statement of his really resonated with me. I know it has because this is the third time it has come to me as I shared with others.

So why did God come in a body?

Jesus, came in a body to give us visibility to the Entity of God.

Dictionary.com states that an entity is something that has a real existence, being or existence especially when considered as distinct, independent, or self-contained, essential nature.

In Colossians 1:15-19 the Word of God states, that Jesus “is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him…” and then in Colossians 2:9 the Word of God declares, “For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form…” Jesus Himself said that, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father;” (John 14:9). 

Jesus came to show us what He created us in His image to do in the very beginning. We were created to give visibility to the entity of God. We were created to display His glory. We were created to be who Jesus was as He walked this earth in real flesh and blood. So what does it mean to me that God came in a body just so that I could visibly see that He is indeed real and how does that correlate with the body that He has given me?

I watch Jesus.

Whether we like it or not what we choose to do in and with this body displays the essential nature of our being. The purpose of this body is to display our nature and beloved it does. Our bodies either display the depravity of our nature or the divineness of our nature. In the flesh Jesus displayed the divine, and He died so that we, in this body, could do the same.

To those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature…

2 Peter 1:1-4

What is the divine nature that we are to display? Is it speaking in tongues and casting out demons and making grand displays of signs and power? Is it the ability to out wit and persuade others by our grand knowledge and charisma? Is it the ability to be stoic and stern and unbendable in our convictions? Are these the things that Jesus did in His body that drew others to Him? Is this how He displayed the divine nature of God in His flesh?

No it wasn’t.

The divine nature that Jesus displayed was grace and truth. The divine nature that Jesus displayed was submission to the Word and will of God. The divine nature that Jesus displayed was love, for God is love (1 John 4:16).

Jesus could have walked around and shot lightening bolts from His fingertips and fire from His eyes. He could have shook the earth with every step He made. He could have used the thunder of His voice to silence the roaring waters of Niagara Falls… but He didn’t.

although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Philippians 2:6-8

Instead he knelt down and gathered children into His arms. He stopped and noticed those that others stepped over on a daily basis. He listened to the cries of those who had so often been ignored. He spoke to those that others treated as less than stray dogs on the street. His divine nature was displayed through His heart of compassion, His gentleness, His kindness, His patience, His humility, and His self-control. This is the divine nature of God. It has been from the beginning…

The Lord descended in the cloud and stood there with him as he called upon the name of the Lord. Then the Lord passed by in front of him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin…

Exodus 34:5-7

Jesus displayed these things in His body all the way to the cross. The purpose of the body is to give visibility to an entity. It never stops doing that, even when faced with destruction, it can’t, for that is its purpose. The outside circumstances did not control the body of Christ, but His entity, the very nature within, controlled the body.

So what does God in a body mean to me?

The Scriptures tell me that when I believe on Jesus, then I am placed in His death, His burial, and His resurrection (Romans 6:3-5). The Scriptures tell me that it is no longer I that live, but Christ in me (Galatians 2:20). The Scriptures tell me that when I, by grace through faith, believe in Jesus and His gospel, then I am sealed with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13), and my body becomes the temple of God (1 Corinthians 3:16).

In other words, God in a body.

My body.

The entity within is no longer my old nature (Ephesians 2:3), but in Christ I have been given a new nature (2 Corinthians 5:17). I have been given Him within (Colossians 1:27). Therefore this body that once made visible me, my entity, and the nature of my sin now is to make visible the entity of Christ in me the hope of glory. God in a body, this body, my body.

As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth. I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.

John 17:18-23

This is why Paul would write to Titus in 62 AD concerning the false teachers and false prophets of Crete…

They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him,

Titus 1:16

God does not just call our hearts, He calls our bodies to follow Him. If our hearts have truly been changed then our body can’t help but follow, because the purpose of the body is to give visibility to an entity and if you have been truly born again, then the entity, the essential nature within, is now divine. It is now love.  It is Christ in you. Therefore we too should be making known the mystery of God to others as Christ made it known to us, through grace and truth and love.

So take a look in the mirror. For once don’t look at the bags under your eyes or the wrinkles around your mouth or the blemishes on your skin. Don’t look at the skinny arms or bulging waistline or varicose veins or cellulite legs. Don’t strain to find the grey hair or run your fingers through the receding hairline. Instead look past all that to the deeds in this skin. What do they say about the entity that is being given visibility?

When I look in the mirror can I see Christ in me? Have I ever really been changed from within? Do I live what I say I believe?

Do others see Jesus in me?