Posts Tagged 'the body of Christ'

Loving God’s Messengers

JESUS SPEAKING

  “He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives Him who sent me.  He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward.  And he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man, shall receive a righteous man’s reward.  And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward” (Mathew 10: 40 – 42.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

In the first century there were no computers or telephones; nor was there any formal postal service.  Therefore, long distance communication was carried out by personal messenger.  Generally, when the individual carrying a message had arrived, they were received warmly and treated with great love and respect (most were provided with food, water, and lodging.)  To disrespect and neglect a messenger was to disrespect and neglect the one who had sent him.

Many centuries before Jesus Christ arrived, there live a very powerful old testament prophet named Elijah.  Due to the wickedness of King Ahab, Elijah was forced to pronounce a drought upon the nation of Israel.  Eventually, the land became so dry that many began to starve.  During this time, God instructed the prophet to travel to a foreign land (where he was to lodge with a widow and her son.)  Upon arriving he asked the unfortunate woman for some bread.  She replied, saying, “I do not have bread, only a handful of flour in a bin, and a little oil in a jar; and see, I am gathering sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son; that we may eat it, and die.”  Elijah replied saying, “Do not fear […] but make a small cake from it first, and bring it to me; and afterward make some for yourself and your son for thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘The bin of flour shall not be used up, nor shall the jar of oil run dry, until the day the Lord sends rain on the earth.’”  The widow woman did as she was told and God continually filled the bin with flour and the jar with oil (because she had shown love toward God’s messenger, she also received his reward: as others died, the widow and her son remained unharmed.)

Each member of the body of Christ is a prophet; every priest, pastor, teacher, evangelist, and elder carries an important message from the Lord.  Those who love and care for God’s messengers, love and care for God Himself.  When we support a missionary we receive their blessings.  When we give to the church, we share in their labors, and reap their rewards.  When we serve those who serve God, we serve Jesus Christ.  Get involved at a church and ask how you can be of service; look for opportunities to love those who carry God’s message, and you will know the true riches of His mercy and grace.

“Lord Heavenly Father we desire to love those whom You have sent.  Provide us with opportunities to receive Your disciples, Your teachers, and Your prophets.  May we draw near to Your messengers, and give to those who faithfully serve You; that we might obtain the blessings You have so graciously bestowed upon them.  We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things according to Your will, in Jesus Christ’s name, amen.”  God bless all of you.

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Jesus Creates Division

JESUS SPEAKING

          “I came to send fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!  But I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how distressed I am till it is accomplished!  Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth?  I tell you, not at all, but rather division.  For from now on five in one house will be divided: three against two, and two against three.  Father will be divided against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law” (Luke 12: 49-53.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

          Jesus corrected the commonly held belief that he came to bring peace to the earth; his real purpose was to give everyone the opportunity to choose their eternal destinations for themselves.  The baptism Jesus underwent on the cross divided the world in two; some have accepted his sacrifice and followed his teachings; still others believe he was just a man, and the cross has no meaning in their lives.  On this earth the strongest of all bonds exists within the family unit.  Loyalty among siblings is paramount; as is the fidelity between children and their parents; yet not even these sacred relationships can withstand the new order Christ’s sacrifice has produced; the believer’s new supreme allegiance belongs to the Son of God, and those who share this allegiance make-up, ‘The Body of Christ.’

          In the book of Luke, Jesus presented a man with the gospel, saying, “Follow me!”  The man responded, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.”  Jesus then replied, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you, go and preach the kingdom.”  Then another man came to him and said, “Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.”  Jesus responded saying, “No one, having put his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the Kingdom of God.”  In both cases Jesus caused turmoil and division; separating those who believe from those who do not.

          Jesus Christ is the prince of peace; however, he is also a sword that cuts the world in two.  He came to create unity amongst followers and division between those followers and everyone else.  Often, if we are at peace with the world, then we are in opposition to God.  Persecution is a very real part of genuine faith.  We will be divided from others and suffer many afflictions, but we will never be alone.  We must be strong for each other; as one body we can endure and overcome the world through the power of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ.

          “Lord Heavenly Father we ask that You give us the strength to step out in faith.  We desire to be Your followers; may we be filled with love, and may we never be ashamed of the truth.  May our allegiance to You and to Your Son be supreme; may we never put anyone ahead of You Lord.  We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things, according to Your will, in Jesus Christ’s name we pray.  Amen.”  God bless all of you!

Division and Unity

JESUS SPEAKING

                “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand” (Mathew 12: 25.)

INSIPRED THOUGHTS

                Division produces strife; which in turn, creates weakness.  Although there are many forms of discord, by far the most damaging is ‘internal conflict.’   Hatred between friends is often more devastating than hatred amongst enemies.  Divisiveness breaks the bonds of marriage; it sets parents against their children; it tears families apart; it defeats armies and conquers entire nations.  The body of Christ is a divine family; made perfect in unity and peace.  Hatred and resentment have no place amongst God’s children; for hostility creates division; and division leads to destruction.

                Since its inception, the United States has been involved in many military confrontations.  Despite the numerous wars waged in foreign lands, the bloodiest conflict was actually fought on American soil.  The Civil War erupted in the 1860’s; ending nearly 620,000 lives and producing millions of crippled war veterans. The property damage was astronomical; the cost exceeding 6 billion dollars. In fact, the entire city of Atlanta was burned to the ground.  Railroads were destroyed; homes and businesses were looted and vandalized; entire crops were set ablaze. Many families were also torn in two. There are several historical accounts of siblings fighting against one another in battle.

                Much like 1860’s America, the church has historically experienced great disunity.  The number of issues that have fostered division include: differing methods of baptism; observance of certain holidays; adherence to dietary restrictions; the structure of church authority; the recognition of a pope; priestly marriage; confessional; child baptism, etc. Avoiding such tedious divisions means placing our emphasis upon a common faith in Jesus Christ; choosing instead, to refrain from arguing over ‘uncertain things.’ We, as believers, are faithfully united in our acceptance of his sacrifice, the desire for obedience, and our hope in his future return. As eternal brothers and sisters, we are “all one in Christ Jesus.”

                “Lord Heavenly Father, we desperately desire spiritual unity.  Destroy the things that divide us; that we might love each other. Forgive our transgressions and cleanse our hearts of hatred and resentment. Strengthen Your body; that we may endure the hardships of this life as a family. We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You; and we ask and we pray all of these things, according to Your will, in Jesus Christ’s name.  Amen.”  God bless all of you.


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