Acts 9 is the chapter where we see the debut of Saul of Tarsus, aka Paul the apostle, into the kingdom. He was approaching Damascus with letters from the high priest giving him permission to capture and transport Christians back to Jerusalem. A light from heaven flashes around him and he falls to the ground and hears a voice say, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?" Paul responds, "who are You, Lord?" And Jesus says, "I am Jesus whom you are persecuting." The story continues.
At the time of this event, Jesus was already crucified, resurrected and at the right hand of the Father, so the only persecution that He was experiencing was that toward His body on the earth. The amazing thing to me is that He considered the body (ekklesia) on the earth to be literally His body. It isn't a figure of speech. Study the language yourself.
Years ago, I remember asking the Lord how I could love Him, since I couldn't see, touch, or hear Him with my natural senses. He showed me by His Spirit that I was to love Jesus in His people. Just as He was literally persecuted as His body was persecuted by Saul of Tarsus and others, He is literally loved as His body is loved. Consider how you love, value, appreciate, serve, etc. His body. That is how you love, value and appreciate Him. What a wonderful thought!
Early last Sunday I was reflecting about passion in the lives of believers. I looked back through my own life and realized that there was a passion that was evident even when I was a child, and that my life had been moved and directed by that passion. Some (maybe all) of the major decisions that I’d made in my life had been influenced by that passion. Sometimes the passion had led me into some really bad decisions, that resulted in relational and financial problems. Sometimes I was led into sound decisions that had good results. Sometimes good, sometimes bad, but always passionate.
The New Testament word edify and its various forms is based on the Greek words oiko and domay or domeo, depending on the form used. Together they mean "to build the house" or "house builder." Remember that the OT house of God was the tabernacle and later the temple, but the NT house of God is His people (you are the temple of the Holy Spirit.) We’ll take a brief look at the OT picture and then develop an in-depth view of the NT perspective.
Gal. 3:1 O YOU poor and silly and thoughtless and unreflecting and senseless Galatians! Who has fascinated or bewitched or cast a spell over you, unto whom--right before your very eyes--Jesus Christ (the Messiah) was openly and graphically set forth and portrayed as crucified? Amplified I felt the Spirit was saying that many in HIS body (right now) are bewitched as in Gal. 3. Many are sensing the lateness of the hour and the necessity of pressing into God, but are aware that something is resisting the flow of HIS SPIRIT in their lives. Have you been trying to read the WORD and just can't relate to what it was saying? Been involved with religious form, but not experiencing intimacy with God or HIS people? Can't seem to see the vision of what God is doing right now? Feel tired, weak, confused, isolated, alone, unable to make sense of spiritual things. Trying to work a little harder, discipline yourself a bit more, or serve God better so that your prayers will be heard and God will respond to you? These are just a few of many possible manifestations of being bewitched.
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Is it not clear to you that to go back to that old rule-keeping, peer-pleasing religion would be an abandonment of everything personal and free in my relationship with God?" Paul in Galatians 2:21 (The Message.)
A friend has the verse above pasted at the bottom of his emails. Perhaps it is a reminder to him and others that Christianity at its essence is not a system of morals, activities, or religious ideals. This scripture is the conclusion of the confrontation that Paul had with Peter and the elders at Jerusalem when the influence of the Judaizers followed Paul into the churches in Galatia, evidently with the approval, or at least the knowledge of James and the elders in Jerusalem. The Judaizers were Jews who agreed that Jesus was the Messiah, but taught that circumcision and the keeping of the Feasts, etc. was a requirement of salvation for the Gentile Christians as well as the Jewish ones. Paul’s message to the Galatians refuted this strongly and he confronted Peter to his face when Peter came to Antioch (Gal. 2:11.)
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Most folks have an understanding of the word prejudice. Those of us who were around during the civil rights era can remember some of the intense issues, conflicts and emotions of that time and how they have changed and shaped our culture and society, even today. We continue to see prejudice in various intensities and manifestations against Jews, Arabs, blacks, whites, Christians, social classes, educational backgrounds, etc., etc. The fallen world in which we live is full of prejudice, and this prejudice lives on in spite of efforts to educate, motivate and manipulate the minds of the masses. The racial prejudice of the civil rights era may have changed, but the core issues are still present. Human differences still fuel prejudice.
My concern is related to another type of prejudice . . . one which is more subtle and in my estimation, more dangerous and far reaching than the other. Click to Continue >>>
There are many relevant aspects of the kingdom of God as it is manifest in His body. Here are a few which come to mind. Each of these is important and must be carefully considered in the life of the ecclesia, BUT, there is one that must be positioned far and above all the others for any of them to be applicable.
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Recently, I perceived a real stirring in the Holy Spirit. . . one which convinced me that the Lord was desiring for His body to move on from John 3:16 to John 17. Please pray over this and be obedient as the Holy Spirit might lead. God bless, Grover
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believes on him may not perish, but have life eternal.
Joh 3:17 For God has not sent his Son into the world that he may judge the world, but that the world may be saved through him.
The story unfolds in Numbers 20 as Moses and Aaron listen to the complaints of the thirsty Israelites and then move into the door of the tabernacle and fall upon their faces. The LORD appears to them in all His glory, and the LORD tells Moses to get his walking stick, call the people together and speak to the rock before their eyes,
Through the years, I've seen the BOC (traditional and nontraditional) being distracted and misdirected as people concentrate on doctrinal positions, specific revelations and personal views and agendas. Much of the energy of the BOC (body of Christ) is expended on defending these ideals and trying to justify them to others, trying to convince people to agree with our cause or philosophy and to forsake theirs. Many have made a ministry of "bringing correction" in the name of "standing for truth."
Let's DO Life!