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Thy Kingdom Come…Thy Will Be Done…On Earth as it is in Heaven

Did you know God purposed for us, in Christ, to be as free from all manner of sickness and disease as He purposed for us to be free from sin? If we were to ask Christians in our communities, Bible-believing people, What is God’s will for man’s soul? They would emphatically agree, …to be saved!

If asked, how would they respond about God’s will for man’s body? Would their reply be as energetic and convincing? Many believing ones understand that Christ died to redeem us from our sins, but have not enjoyed his redemptive work in also taking upon himself mankind’s physical and mental afflictions.

Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. ~1 Peter 2:24 (KJV)

Healing is a manifestation of our redemption. Dr. E.W. Bullinger, in his work on The Divine Names and Titles, listed ten redemptive names of God; the second being Jehovah Rapheka, found in Exodus 15:26, I am the Lord that healeth thee, or literally, I am the Lord thy physician.

The Greek word for healed in 1 Peter 2:24, is properly used in regard to surgeons. It means to be revived from illness; to cause to live and denotes the completion of the act. As David declared in Psalm 103, verses 3 & 4 (KJV):

Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;

Colossians 1 reveals that we have, …redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: Redemption is to be rescued from an undesirable state. Neither sickness nor sin is a state we crave. Nor does God want us to be mired in either of those conditions. Therefore, He made provision for us in the finished works of Jesus Christ. In Christ, we are as much redeemed from sickness as we are redeemed from our sins.

Not only is it God’s will for us to …prosper and be in health [3 John 2], it is in fact, His purpose in Christ. When you think of heaven, what comes to mind? Do you envision men and women sick and filled with disease? Do you picture humans with deformities? Would you see them in pain or limping along on crutches? No, of course not! Why? Because it is not the will of God, nor the purposes of heaven.

In Matthew 6, when Jesus was teaching his disciples to pray, he spoke what we refer to as, The Lord’s Prayer. Many Christian groups recite it regularly. Others consider the passage not written to this administration. Nonetheless, in verse 10, Jesus prayed, Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

Then, what would you say is God’s will in heaven? Then, what is His will upon the earth? Did not Jesus say, I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me?

Acts 10:34 (KJV) records: How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power; who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him. This verse not only states God’s purpose in giving His gift of holy spirit, but also the purpose of this power. In addition, it tells us the source of sickness, disease and oppression.

When Jesus sent out the seventy into the cities that he would visit, he charged them in Luke 10, …And heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you. The words come nigh mean it is present right now. The seventy returned triumphantly! His kingdom has come to anyone who needs rescuing.

In Mark 16, on the day of Christ’s ascension, he gave instruction to his disciples to …Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel [good news] to every creature. …lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. Why? Because it is not only the will of God, but also His purposes.

Often, we speak of the promises of God, and true they are; but, He has purposed in Christ and in the gift of holy spirit, the power to receive those promises into evidence this moment. He is the Lord, thy physician, today. His power and presence are here now. The kingdom of God is come nigh and His will be done in earth as it is in heaven. ~

Communion: Digesting the Bread of Life

At some point, during the meal referred to as the Last Supper, as depicted in the painting by Leonardo DaVinci, Jesus instituted what has become know as Holy Communion. Most are familiar with the bread and the wine components; but perhaps not all are sure of their purpose. For some it is an annual observance, for others a weekly sacrament and still for others, communion is a rite of passage for joining a denomination.

Let’s begin in Matthew, chapter 26, to see point-by-point what happened during this meal Jesus had with his disciples, to shape the meaning of what he did.

Verse 26:

And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.

This verse has three key words: bread, this and body. In the Greek, nouns are assigned a gender: masculine, feminine and neuter. Bread is masculine, while this and body are neuter.

A figure of speech, Metaphor of Transference appears in verse 26. Figures of speech are governed by the rules of language. Random House Dictionary of the English Language defines a figure of speech as the application of a word or phrase to an object or concept, which it does not literally denote, in order to suggest comparison with another object.

I could hold up a photo of my mother and say, This is my mother. The photograph is not literally my mother, but it represents her. In verse 26, this refers to the bread Jesus was holding. Since this and body agree in gender, it confirms the representation is transference as figurative rather than a literal truth. Using the word this implies that the bread he was holding compares figuratively with his body. His body is put for his life.

John 6:35:

And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.

His instruction was to, Take, eat; this is my body. What does this mean? After we eat, our digestive system extracts the nourishment and imparts vitality to our physical bodies. Biblically, the process of eating and digesting is often likened to acquiring spiritual knowledge and understanding, as seen in Ezekiel, chapter two.

Verses 9 & 10:

And when I looked, behold, an hand was sent unto me; and, lo, a roll of a book [a scroll] was therein;

And he spread it before me; and it was written within and without: and there was written therein lamentations, and mourning, and woe.

Continuing in chapter 3,

Verses 1-3:

Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, eat that thou findest [more specific, that which is written in the scroll]; eat this roll, and go speak unto the house of Israel.

So I opened my mouth, and he caused me to eat that roll.

And he said unto me, Son of man, cause thy belly to eat, and fill thy bowels with this roll that I give thee. Then did I eat it; and it was in my mouth as honey for sweetness.

God wanted whatever was written on that scroll to become a very part of Ezekiel.

Verse 4:

And he said unto me, Son of man, go, get thee unto the house of Israel, and speak with my words unto them.

Once the contents of the scroll were a very part of Ezekiel, he could go unto the house of Israel and speak God’s words unto them. He would not need to adlib or paraphrase a line of it, because those words had already penetrated his innermost being.

When you sit down to a steak dinner, you slice off a piece of the meat, and you chew and swallow. The digestive process takes place and that meat becomes a part of you. There are no scientists or surgeons who could ever find or recover that piece of steak. Why…because it has now quite literally become a very part of you.

So it is with eating and digesting Scripture. These very terms are used today in assimilating knowledge. We refer to thinking over a point as chewing on it. Understanding a written work may be referred to as digesting it. Perhaps, when enjoying a novel, one might say they are savoring every word. At the least it is food for thought.

These terms communicate that what you have read or heard affected you and joined your repertoire of thoughts, concepts, logic and even beliefs. We can see clearly God desires that His words become a very part of each of us. In Hebrews 5, elders are reproved for lacking knowledge and experience in what had been available to them for years:

Verses 12-14:

For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.

For every one that useth milk is unskillful [or inexperienced] in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.

But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age [or mature], even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

Paul admonished these believers of Hebrew background. They had been around the Scriptures a long time and should have had extraordinary knowledge. They should have been producing abundant fruit in their lives; but they hardly recognized the distinctions between good and evil. Since they hadn’t digested much, they were spiritually like babies still in need of milk.

The disciples, who sat around the table for the meal with Jesus, had walked with him on journeys and personally saw the signs and wonders; even performing signs and wonders themselves. It’s no surprise that Jesus would initiate the first communion with these disciples.

In John, chapter 6, after feeding the 5000 with five loaves and two fish, the following day the people sought to track Jesus down. Upon finding him, they wanted some more food. Jesus had greater sustenance to feed them upon heeding his words. He would feed them the bread that would impart eternal life.

Verses 51-54:

I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.

The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat?

Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.

Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.

For people in this Eastern culture, what Jesus said should not have been difficult to comprehend. Jesus was and is the bread of life.

John 1:14:

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

To eat his flesh is to digest the word pertaining to Christ, as the savior of the world. So, the eating of the bread in the Communion service represents digesting the knowledge of Jesus Christ as the savior of the world, as the agent of eternal life. Jesus is the bread of life—he is the full loaf.

There is another aspect to consider in regard to the phrase eat my flesh. Before the final plague and before Moses led the children of Israel out of the land of bondage, the children of Israel were told to do two things:

Exodus 12: 3, 7 & 8:

Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house:

And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it.

And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it.

The blood on the side posts and the upper posts would protect them from the angel of death. However, they were also, in that same night, to eat the flesh of the lamb. In their exodus from Egypt, Psalms 105:37 proclaims:

He brought them forth also with silver and gold: and there was not one feeble person among their tribes.

What is it that we should digest when it comes to the “lamb of God” as we eat the bread representing the body of Christ? Included in our remembrance of him, should be digesting God’s promise of health and prosperity?

3 John 2:

Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.

How about the very clear record in 1 Peter, chapter 2?

Verse 24:

Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.

In partaking of the bread of the communion, it is in remembrance of what God’s word says Jesus Christ accomplished for us through the sacrifice of his earthly life.

The other part of the communion is the cup. It is in remembrance of the accomplishments of Christ; to represent the victory of eternal life and the remission of sins through his precious blood.

Matthew 26:27 & 28:

And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it;

For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

The cup represents judgment. However, a judgment can be good or bad, depending on what is in the cup. In Revelation, it is the cup of wrath. But the cup of communion is the cup of blessing.

1 Corinthians 10:16:

The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ?

The contents of the cup of blessing represents the blood of Christ. Blood is indicative of atonement and redemption. The cup is the Lord’s and communion is to share fully. We share fully in our Lord’s atonement and redemption through his precious blood.

Wine is often used to represent the spirit of God. At the Last Supper, they would have been drinking new wine, symbolizing the new birth. As a new testament or new covenant; it would mean putting new wine in new bottles.

Matthew 9:17:

Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved.

As shared in a previous newsletter, the bottles are actually goatskins. New goatskins are flexible and pliable to adjust to the expansion from fermentation. The gift of eternal life spirit in people would be new and dynamic, enabling them to fulfill their calling in the Great Commissioning (Mark 16). How exciting it is to partake of the communion with all it implies.

There is much to be remembered in the communion; but there is also great rejoicing.  Jesus Christ is the complete savior! Partaking of the bread and the cup of the communion of Christ far exceeds an annual observance, a weekly sacrament or a rite of passage. No mater how often we partake of the bread and the cup in remembrance of him, acknowledge all we have in Christ and all we are as believing ones.

1 John 1:2-4:

(For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)

That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.

And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be 

What joy to call to our remembrance all we have in Christ in our communion with him and with one another! In the communion we are to, take; eat, regarding the bread and drink all of it, in reference to the cup.

Of further interest, eating and drinking in the Biblical culture carried greater significance than just having a meal. The host did not typically eat with his guests. To partake of a meal while seated with the host, indicated great honor and trust. 

Eating and drinking is associated with the celebration of a great victory or achievement; an opportunity to share in the triumph. The focus is to remember and rejoice in the conquest, around the food.

At events of this nature, we may use such terms as taste the victory or savor the moment.  Although celebrated with food and drink, when we go home; it’s not the taste of the steak or the refreshment of the champagne toast we recall. Rather, we pleasure in the memory of the celebration—of the unity and success of the achievement.

Jesus brake the bread and gave to his disciples and shared his cup with them.  They all partook of the very same ingredients. In communion, we eat the bread and drink of the Lord’s cup of blessing. We digest the fulfillment of his life and the effects of his redeeming blood.

We are not partaking of the physical body or the actual blood of Jesus Christ, but are digesting and being refreshed by what they represent—eternal life and fellowship with the Father. We are to taste the victory and savor the moment.

In setting forth the communion for the church at Corinth, the Apostle Paul instructs them:

1 Corinthians 11:20-22:

When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord’s supper.

For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken.

What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not. 

When perceiving spiritual truths is limited to mankind’s earthly reasoning, it is understandable how they could take something godly and wrongly apply it within traditions familiar to them. The Corinthians were accustomed to drunken feasts that were a big part of their former pagan traditions. They devoured the victory and chugged the moment. (Much like some victory celebrations in our society today: Super Bowl World Series, etc.) Because of previous experience, they could not discern the Lord’s body to celebrate the spiritual understanding of in remembrance of him.

Verses 23-26:

For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread:

And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.

After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.

For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.

Yes, truly it is a great victory Christ gained for us. This remembrance should be tempered by its cost—the life and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. Partake of the Communion service with thankfulness and dignity.

Verses 27-30:

Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.

But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.

For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.

For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep [die prematurely].

Unworthily means to be out of equilibrium.  The Corinthians were out of balance because they had not digested the spiritual knowledge of what the Lord accomplished for them. Sickness and weakness pervaded the Corinthian churches. Held captive by previous teaching and erroneous practice, they could not discern the Lord’s body nor understand and recognize the physical wholeness Jesus achieved for them in his broken body. Although they participated in the eating and drinking; they did not digest their communion with him. They had not digested the sweet words prophesied by Isaiah.

Isaiah 53:4 & 5:

Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

The prophecy looking forward, we are healed. In fulfillment, looking back, we were healed.

1 Peter 2:24:

Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.

Determine that you will exercise your spiritual maturity to fully digest Jesus’ accomplishments according to the Scriptures. When eating of that bread (the spiritual meat) of his life and drinking of that cup (of victory), do it with full understanding in remembrance of him.

Taste the victory and savor the moment in the bread and cup of the communion of Christ. ~

 

The Miracle of All Miracles

Is God concerned only with man’s receiving His perfect gift of holy spirit at the new birth? Are you acquainted with the truth in 1 Thessalonians 5:23, that God planned for man to be a threefold being: spirit, and soul, and body? Indeed, the gift of holy spirit, the new birth, is the miracle of all miracles which makes man complete. Exactly what all is in God’s plan of redemption? What can we rightfully expect?

And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thessalonians 5:23).

There is no question that this gift from God is perfect, giving man a spiritual birth, but what about his soul and his body? The word sanctify in this verse, means to be sacred or purified from defect. Born-again ones are to be sacred or purified from defect…wholly, or absolutely, or entirely.

The verse continues to specify that the parts: spirit, and soul, and body, are to be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Through the power of God, in His gift and through the Word of God in the mind of the believing one, the completeness that was wrought at the new birth, is maintained. It is all part of God’s plan of redemption!

Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6).

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

It is truly God’s plan that we are equipped and enjoy good health (including soundness or wholeness of mind) from our new birth all the way until we sleep in Christ (at which time this earthen vessel will corrupt), or we remain alive (in our mortal bodies) at his appearing. Either way, at his appearing, we shall be changed.

In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality (1 Corinthians 15:52 & 53).

We have a legal right to enjoy soundness of mind and wholeness of body in our earthen vessels. At the Return of Christ, we will put on a new spiritual body like unto his glorious body, that will last through eternity.

Now, that is a health plan! Yet, many lose out on the miraculous benefit of physical health and healing because their soul life (which houses the heart and mind of mankind) has not connected to the very truth that led them to the new birth.

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved [receive wholeness in every part].
For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation (Romans 10:9 & 10).

At the moment of the new birth, when the man of body and soul confesses and believes, he receives the gift of holy spirit from God. This believing one now believes he is a child of God and heaven-bound. But, this magnificent scripture takes it further, saying …thou shalt be saved (made whole, preserved from danger or loss, receive soundness). God’s salvation is about healing the whole person – spirit, and soul, and body…all joined as one unit within the child of God.

Remember the lame man at the temple Gate Beautiful in Acts 3? Peter declared to those in wonder and amazement at this miracle …the faith which is by him [Jesus Christ] hath given him [the healed man] this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.

In that instance of time, when a person is born again, he or she is in perfect synchronization with God with all three-component parts lined up. The soul is made whole because the individual brings his mind in subjection to the scripture by confessing what the Word of God says, while at the same time, believing in his heart the truth. With the body, being subject to the mind; all three parts align.

The spirit always remains in subjection to God, because His gift of holy spirit is perfect and it is incorruptible seed (1 Peter 1:23). However, should the individual, by the freedom of his or her will, choose not to subject his or her mind and heart to the scriptures regarding various promises of God, indications of its presence become limited or dormant in effect. This errant decision triggers the soul and body out of alignment with the spirit; and thus, the benefits of wholeness are abandoned. The perfect spirit does not deteriorate but always remains. The person does not lose salvation (wholeness) in terms of eternal life, but may no longer enjoy the threefold soundness, which began at the new birth. To restore and maintain the wholeness in every part, the soul of man requires frequent nourishment to flourish in spirit, in soul, and in body.

During his temptations, Jesus Christ responded in a confrontation with the Devil, …Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4). Job declared, …I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food (Job 23:12); while Jeremiah proclaimed, Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart (Jeremiah 15:16). These records clearly show the passion of the son of God and other great believing ones to attend to the proper feeding of their whole man, via the diet of their souls. This is how we continue in the healing wholeness of the whole person: spirit, and soul, and body, which began in that miraculous moment of the new birth.

Let’s see what this feeding of the soul does for the wholeness of the body of the born-again believing one.

My son, attend unto my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings.
Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart.
For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh (Proverbs 4: 20-22).

Even our bodies respond to the hearing of the Word; it is health to all our flesh! If we are lacking wholeness in our flesh, we nurse it back to health by digesting the Word (Psalms 107:20). There is not a molecule, not a cell, not an atom in the body, which does not derive health or healing from the Word. We perceive how the spoken Word heals, comforts and restores our souls, but have we earnestly considered what the spoken Word can do for our bodies?

The flesh is the whole body of man: the muscular, the skeletal, the internal organs, the skin, and every system. All are nourished, healed and maintained by the living Word of God. Here is what the wise recommend:

There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health [medicine] (Proverbs 12:18).

In a state of unrest between countries, a trusted ambassador might be sent to negotiate peace.

A wicked messenger falleth into mischief: but a faithful ambassador is health [a medicine] (Proverbs 13:17).

Why not become God’s ambassador to your own anatomy? The word health is the word for medicine. Tell your body the therapeutic value you are giving. Assure your body that you are nourishing it back to wholeness with God’s prescribed curative.

God counts you faithful to administer medicine that puts your physical being at rest. Speak well to your body concerning Him and His promises. Employ the tongue of the wise and negotiate your wholeness.

A merry heart doeth good as medicine (Proverbs 17:22).

The Rotherham Bible states this verse, …a joyful heart worketh an excellent cure.

I was made aware of a person who had a stroke, leaving one of the arms limp. Each day this person would tell the arm, You are a good arm, awesomely formed by God to perform helpful service. Again and again, this person would stroke the limp arm and speak health and assurances to the arm of how much it was loved and appreciated. In a matter of time, the person recovered and reclaimed use and dexterity, even to the driving of a car.

Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health [a medicine] to the bones (Proverbs 16:24).

There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health [medicine] (Proverbs 12:18).

How often have your own words pierced your body when it was in discomfort? My darn back is killing me! This stupid knee is giving me trouble. I swear, I must be having a senior moment (dementia). Employ the tongue of the wise! Pleasant words administer medicine to the bones. Speak consolably to your body, for the Word of God is the curative to all your flesh.

Many scriptures that tell of healings by our lord, use the Greek word, therapeia, from which we get our words therapy and therapeutic. We usually think of something therapeutic, as soothing, comforting and restoring, like a hot bath or spa…perhaps a massage. It may take a little time, but generally it is a pleasant experience. Even the word, therapy places a picture in the mind of recovery back to a healthful state.

Certainly, a miraculous healing took place at the moment of our salvation. We can restore and maintain that threefold wholeness as we improve our eating habits, utilize the medicine God prescribes, and speak words recommended by the wise for health to all our flesh. This is the Godly therapy. Enjoy your next spa or massage session all wrapped up in the miracle of the new birth. ~

Awesomely-Made Jars of Clay

Containers play an important part in the everyday lives of people. Jars, pots, cups, bottles and vessels of every kind are vital in preserving, storing and dispensing commodities of all kinds. Depending on the value, need for security, or fragility, generally careful thought is given as to the type of carrier we select to hold our assets.

A grocery sack would not be a suitable receptacle to store liquids. Neither would we place bacon grease in a perfume atomizer. The pairing of contents and containers is also an important choice when it comes to housing spiritual treasures.

Matthew 9:17 (KJV):

Neither do men put new wine in old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved.

The “bottles” were actually drinking tanks, like canteens, fashioned from animal skins. As the skins aged, they would become brittle, losing their elasticity. The “new wine” was grape juice that had not reached fermentation.

New skins, being pliable, would expand and stretch as the gases from the fermentation process built up inside. The new skin would contain the new wine and the wine would keep the skin stretched and lubricated.

This provides an illustration of how to receive truth. As believing ones grow and move with the Truth, the Truth preserves the believing ones. The real point is, “both are preserved”. The drying wine skins of religion and traditions will never be able to contain the effervescing spiritual reality of Christ-in-you.

When it came to being filled with the new birth, His gift of holy spirit, don’t you think God was selective in choosing the vessel for His treasure?

2 Corinthians 4:7 (NIV):

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.

Being “jars of clay” is not in any way demeaning to our physical bodies. It is a very appropriate and well-designed container to surround and display His glorious gift of Christ that is within.

Here is how David perceived his clay jar and he did not have the treasure.

Psalm 139:14 (KJV):

I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.

David wrote, “I will praise thee.” He was not just going to admire God for his handiwork regarding his physical being; he was going to declare publically—express his love, proclaim his gratitude, and give God honor. For what? “For I am fearfully and wonderfully (awesomely) made….”

The part of man that was “made” was the body, which God fashioned from the dust of the ground. David said his body was “fearfully and wonderfully made…”

Barnes Notes on the Bible, explains that “fearfully” means, “suited to produce reverence distinguished from other awe-inspiring works of creation.”

Men are captivated by the splendor of the Grand Canyon, spellbound by the cosmos, enthralled by the oceans, and mesmerized by the mountain vistas. But, the “eyes” of God did not regard the glory of the star-studded expanse or the rolling marine tides of teeming life. His gaze was intent upon an earthen vessel to preserve and be preserved by His most precious gift.

Psalm 139: 15 and 16 (KJV):

My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest part of the earth.

Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfected; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.

“My substance was not hid from thee”—the Septuagint, the Latin Vulgate, the Syriac and Arabic texts, as well as Luther translate “my substance” as “my bones”. The King James margin note, is “strength,” referring to the skeletal frame and the sinew which covers the bones. We should also call to mind that “ the life of the flesh is in the blood” and blood is produced in the marrow of the bones (Leviticus 17:11).

Before our frames were ever formed, before even the embryonic stage, the wisdom of God envisioned strength; actual physical life in our frames and the supporting structure where His spirit could dwell and collaborate.

For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do his good pleasure (Philippians 2:13 KJV).

An artisan often works alone. “I was made in secret.” Our bodies were embroidered and woven in private where the espionage of the enemy would not discover the mystery that would later be unveiled—Christ in you, the hope of glory.

“…in thy book, all my members, were written….” Just as an architect or engineer drafts a print or schematic, God made exacting plans in our design. This body, with its most “secret compartment,” was fashioned to perpetuate. God included an immune system and healing properties in its inner workings. Should a repair become necessary, every “member” is kept in His detailed “repair manual”.

Psalm 139:17:

How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! How great is the sum of them!

He thought of everything! Every contingency was considered and answered. Indeed we were “fearfully and awesomely made”.

We know that this repository for “Christ in you” is only temporary; for it is corruptible:

For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality (1 Corinthians 15:53).

But as for the corruptible…it is designed to last as long as we need it.

If you had the most delightful perfume that has ever floated upon a garden breeze, how would you protect this lovely potion? Though only the holder, you would want the container to have a wonderful look of elegance, and dispense the exact measure to stimulate a most pleasant olfactory sensation.

2 Corinthians 2:15 and 16:

For we are unto God a sweet savour [fragrance] of Christ, in them that are saved [being made whole], and in them that perish [are perishing]:

To the one [the unbeliever] we are the savour [smell] of death unto death: and to the other [the believing ones] the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?

Well, by God’s grace we are! Our Heavenly Father planned and forethought for our bodies to hold His most precious “essence.”

To plainly state it, our bodies are the perfect container. We carry the fragrance of Christ.

Let’s recapture the words of David in verse 14 of Psalm 139, “…my soul knoweth right well.” He was completely convinced. Most people look at their bodies as something destined for decay from the sin nature locked inside. I assure you David didn’t. We magnify perceived imperfections; but, David knew something much different.

Don’t be ashamed of that body. It is a beautiful work. It’s more intricately exquisite and durable than you could ever think. God paired it with His best treasure. It’s an awesome jar of clay! ~

Thoughts of Peace

“Do you know what I think?” he said as he turned to me. “I think God hates mankind. He puts all these obstacles in our way and expects us to climb over them. He’s just downright mean. I don’t think I want to become a Christian. I hate to think what eternity with Him would be like. I hate Him for what He does to us.”
People tend to reject Christianity because they think they hate God. Primarily, they think He hates them so they are going to hate Him right back. What they really hate are their thoughts and concepts of God; He’s mean and is just waiting for them to mess up so He can really let them have it. To tell you the truth, I hate those thoughts and concepts too! Unfortunately, these notions and perceptions have been given to people from prominent Christian leaders. Such ideas as “Hurricane Katrina was sent by God to punish New Orleans for its wickedness.” Or that God dispatched AIDS to “chastise homosexuals.”
Are these really the deliberations and sentences of God? Or, does He contemplate something altogether different but is blamed for the musings men have entertained? God is a helper and deliverer to those introuble, a light to guide us through the darkness in this world.
We should never allow the world to define God, nor Christianity. Let’s allow the Bible to reveal to us the thoughts and nature of God.  Let’s begin our exploration with Jeremiah 29:11:
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
The New American Standard Version reads: For I know the plans that I have for you, declared the Lord, plans for welfare and not calamity to give you a future and a hope.
God should know what He thinks and plans.
Have you considered John 3:16?
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, thatwhosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
“But, I thought He hates me.” Perish that thought. Better yet, why not replace that thought with the exhortation in Philippians 4:8:
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
Why would God have you think on what He does not think on Himself? Here is something else to think on.
This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare untoyou, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. ~ 1 John 1:5
It would seem some of these Christian leaders have received a different message. I, for one, would rather think on the message from 1 John, wouldn’tyou? I did not consider Hurricane Katrina as light.
Let’s examine the record of Jesus and his disciples in Matthew 8:23-26:
And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him. And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch the ship was covered with waves: but he was asleep. And his disciples came to him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish. And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.
If God was trying to punish the disciples, why did Jesus stop the storm and cause a great calm? The disciples were alarmed and cried out, “Lord, save us: we perish!” People think if there is a God, why doesn’t He do something? He has… “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Don’t perish in your own thoughts. Let there be a great calm and believe in Him. There is an old proverb that goes, “your thoughts are the seeds for your words and deeds”.  What have you germinated in the recesses of your mind through the thoughts you entertain? If you hate to think that God would punish sin with sickness, stop thinking those thoughts. I hate thinking that too!
So why don’t we replace those thoughts with Psalm 103:10: He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
Or, 3 John 2:
Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.
The children of Israel were rapidly moving into captivity because of their own vain thoughts. They hated the position they were in because they clung to negative thoughts that were lodged in their minds. God sent pastors to teach them His thoughts and care for them; but, they rejected the teachings. He had the prophet confront them in Jeremiah 4:14: O Jerusalem, wash thine heart from wickedness, that thou mayest besaved. How long shall thy vain thoughts lodge with thee? Don’t ward off salvation to cling to unprofitable thoughts that are not true, nor what God thinks. Don’t reject Christianity because you think God hates you. His thoughts are “of peace and not of evil. His plans are “for your welfare, and not for calamity, to give you a future and a hope”. If you think on these things, a great calm awaits you. ~