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3

The Cave and The Stone

Date - Sunday, July 5th, 2015

The Body Church
Courtyard Atlanta Midtown/ Georgia Tech
1132 Techwood Dr NW, Atlanta
GA 30318

1 Corinthians 12:12(NLT) - The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ.

Sundays
10:00 AM - Worship With Prayer

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Sharing Her-Story: While Searching For Truth She Found Jesus!

Date - Sunday, June 28th, 2015

The Body Church
Courtyard Atlanta Midtown/ Georgia Tech
1132 Techwood Dr NW, Atlanta
GA 30318

1 Corinthians 12:12(NLT) - The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ.

Sundays
10:00 AM - Worship With Prayer

4

Ask Donnell - Did The Resurrection Already Take Place?

resurrection

We received the following question from Charlene;

Hi Donnell, greetings to you in Jesus name. My son came to me asking me if I knew anybody other than Jesus raised from the dead. I said no. Then he quoted ..Matthew 27:51-53(NIV)…."At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to Bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life." Is this the resurrection that was spoken about? Could you give me some clarity. Thank you and God bless you

Charlene, this question is loaded. There is so much to say on this topic that I must force myself to be concise. Read my book, "I Curse Death" available now at the bookstore if you want the long answer. Yesterday evening I had a long talk with one of my friends about the notion of raising people from the dead. When is it appropriate? Who has the authority to decide that someone's death was untimely and premature. As a result, when is it a good idea to petition God to return a dead person to life?

Matthew 27:50-53(NKJV) And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many.

After Jesus rose from the dead, several people followed him out of their graves. Was that The Resurrection? To answer the question directly, no! However, what did happen was a resurrection. In fact, resurrections were commonplace in The Bible both in The Old and New Testaments. The power of God to bring the dead to life has been on display since the days of old. The Resurrection of Jesus was just the highlight of them all and The Resurrection of every Christian at the sound of The Last Trumpet will be the grand finale.

So how should we approach Matthew 27:50-53? There are several ways that come to mind immediately. However, I'll start with the simplest. When Jesus rose from the dead so much resurrection power was released that it impacted many others in the vicinity. That's not so far-fetched because the precedent for such an eventuality was already set in the scriptures. Take a look at what happened when a dead man was thrown on top of the bones of the prophet Elisha. They shared a tomb for a very short time.

2 Kings 13:21(NKJV) - So it was, as they were burying a man, that suddenly they spied a band of raiders; and they put the man in the tomb of Elisha; and when the man was let down and touched the bones of Elisha, he revived and stood on his feet.

Here's some quick context. Those were no ordinary bones because Elisha was no ordinary guy. He had a reputation for raising the dead while he was alive and kept that reputation even after his death. You can check out the biblical record of Elisha raising the son of the Shunammite woman who had been dead in 2 Kings 4:32-37! It's a very dramatic account of God's power to raise the dead in action through an anointed man of God.

2 Kings 4:32-37(NKJV) - When Elisha came into the house, there was the child, lying dead on his bed. He went in therefore, shut the door behind the two of them, and prayed to the Lord. And he went up and lay on the child, and put his mouth on his mouth, his eyes on his eyes, and his hands on his hands; and he stretched himself out on the child, and the flesh of the child became warm. He returned and walked back and forth in the house, and again went up and stretched himself out on him; then the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes. And he called Gehazi and said, “Call this Shunammite woman.” So he called her. And when she came in to him, he said, “Pick up your son.” So she went in, fell at his feet, and bowed to the ground; then she picked up her son and went out.

So what does any of this have to do with the people who came back to life just after Jesus in Matthew 27:50-53? Perhaps nothing or then again maybe not. If Elisha's bones could raise a young man back to life just by mere contact how much more could the body of a resurrected Jesus affect an entire cemetery? The power on Elisha's bones pale in comparison to the power on the body of Jesus. Not only did Jesus raise the dead during His lifetime like Elisha did, Jesus Himself is the source of all life. Nonetheless, let's see how Jesus explains the nature of The Resurrection once and for all.

John 11:20-27(NKJV) - Now Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met Him, but Mary was sitting in the house. Now Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” She said to Him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”

While mourning the death of her brother, Martha found hope in knowing that one day she would see him alive again at The Resurrection at the last day. It's the event spoken of in Daniel 12:1-2 that was common knowledge at that time.

Daniel 12:1-2(NKJV) - “At that time Michael shall stand up, The great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people; And there shall be a time of trouble, Such as never was since there was a nation, even to that time. And at that time your people shall be delivered, Every one who is found written in the book. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, Some to everlasting life, Some to shame and everlasting contempt.

This is what Martha was looking forward to and her faith was in the right place because it was based in God's Word. However, Jesus revealed something she or nobody else had ever heard before. The Resurrection was more than an event that would take place at the end of time. The Resurrection is really a person and His name is Jesus. As a result, those who believe in Jesus can experience The Resurrection at any moment. Jesus described it as such; if they die, they will live and if they are alive they won't die.

That's what happens when The Resurrection shows up. He puts an end to the power of death in the lives of anyone who would dare to believe in Him as The Resurrection. When Martha believed, Jesus brought the future event into the present by raising Lazarus from the dead right there on the spot. He didn't have to wait for The Last Trumpet because The Resurrection put on human form and called his name. I can go on and on about this topic because it's the subject of my first book, I Curse Death and it remains as my first love when it comes to revelation from the scriptures.

There's nothing I love to teach more than victory over death through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He died so we could live and that doesn't just mean at The Resurrection on the last day which is what Martha thought but right now because The Resurrection aka Jesus lives inside of us. Now, with that in mind let's take a final look at the event called The Resurrection through the lens of the person called The Resurrection.

1 Corinthians 15:50-58(NKJV) - Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall 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 incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?” The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.

According to what we just saw in this scripture, The Resurrection will take place at The Last Trumpet. Read Revelation 8 and you'll see that there will be Seven Trumpets signalling seven specific events which will signal the countdown to The Resurrection. At that point, our bodies will change into glorified bodies and the thought of death would become a distant memory. We'll become physically immortal. Now, here's what The Resurrection looks like when it's seen through the lens of Jesus, who is The Resurrection.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18(NKJV) - But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.

Think of The Church as The Body of Christ then think of The Resurrection as the complete redemption or restoration of The Body. In an instant, Jesus, the Head of The Church will descend from heaven and at the same time His Body, The Church will rise to meet Him in the air. Those who died in Christ will rise first then the rest of us who are still alive will catch them in the air. The Resurrection therefore, is really the event that marks the return of Jesus Christ who is The Resurrection. In other words, when The Last Trumpet sounds, The Resurrection will return and His return will trigger an instant change in the bodies of every Christian and our ascension to meet Him which we also call The Resurrection.

We will no longer be subject to death nor any other physical limitation including gravity, time or space. Hence, just like The Resurrection of Jesus caused many saints to come back to life, on an even higher level, the return of Jesus as The Resurrection will cause every saint to come back to life. Those who are dead will live again and those who are alive will never die. Can you believe that? Lord knows, I believe.

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July 6, 2015 Posted by admin in Purpose

Make The Most Of Life While You Still Have A Chance

live

Hebrews 9:27-28(NKJV) - And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.

Yesterday, I received a call from one of my friends with some very bad news. Another friend of ours had a heart attack and passed away the day before. He found out about the death on Facebook after noticing several postings offering condolences on the guy's page. After first wondering what was going on, he was eventually able to deduce what had happened. At the time of his untimely death, our friend was no older than 38 years old. He was a man of God gifted in music and teaching God's Word. He came from a family of ministers and had spent much of his life in the ministry.

However, during the last few years he faced some trying times in his personal life. He would always put on a brave face when we saw him so there was no way for us to know how he was coping. We just hung out with him the other day while watching a big boxing match at a friend's house. We knew he was going through a rough season but there was no way we could have imagined that he would have died so suddenly. That changed everything.

I think about the times I talked with him on the phone encouraging him and offering Godly counsel. I wonder if I should have said certain things differently or maybe adopted a much stronger stance on certain issues. Would it have influenced his situation for the better or perhaps even saved his life? Nonetheless, hindsight is 20-20. We comfort our hearts knowing that he's in heaven where he doesn't have to deal with any more of this earthly mess.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8(KJV) - To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: 2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; 3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; 4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; 5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; 6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; 7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; 8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

Welcome to today's blog. It's real! I'll be honest. This entire situation really shook me. What do you mean he's dead? People just die like that? Good guys too? Was it really his time to die already? While driving home with my wife after the same boxing match a few months ago I commented to her about how gifted he was and how much we needed his gifts in the church. We could only dream of people like him all over Atlanta choosing to join a church like our own in a city full of amazing edifices led by internationally known superstars.

I then lamented that there are so many huge churches full of gifted people who prefer to go there, sit down and do nothing instead of finding a place to serve where they are really needed. If that wasn't enough I didn't factor in the possibility of death coming early because that thought always brings a sense of urgency. People are dying with gifts, talents and dreams that we need in The Body of Christ. Hence, those of us who are still alive need to live like there's a reason to live and do everything God has called us to do right now. Don't think about it. Do it now! If it's not needed where you are then find somewhere else to do it. The time for excuses is over. Just do it! You never know when your time will be up.

Ephesians 5:15-17(AMP) - Look carefully then how you walk! Live purposefully and worthily and accurately, not as the unwise and witless, but as wise (sensible, intelligent people), Making the very most of the time [buying up each opportunity], because the days are evil. Therefore do not be vague and thoughtless and foolish, but understanding and firmly grasping what the will of the Lord is.

So what are you doing with your life? Are you living like time is running out or are you letting precious time go to waste? One of my favorite professors once told me that time is our only non-renewable resource. Once it's gone, it's gone. You cannot make time. You cannot make up time. You cannot even manage time. You can manage what you do with the time you have and that's about it. Time progresses regardless of what you do. It doesn't depend on you and there's nothing you can do to affect it. As a result, if you don't do something with your time you will lose it. What's even worse is that you have no idea how much time you do have. So you may be operating on the assumption that you have allot of time when you may only have a little.

You're still alive so make the most of the time you have left on the earth. Live with purpose. Live with wisdom. Get a hold of God's Will for your life and don't settle for anything less than its complete fulfillment. Don't sit on your gifts. Live with a sense of urgency. No, the sky's not falling but the clock is ticking and that's an even bigger emergency. Tick tock, tick tock... Each second of time is one less second you have to do God's Will for your life. If you don't know where to start, you can start here.

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Getting To Know Jesus - A Personal Journey To Freedom

Date - Sunday, June 21st, 2015

The Body Church
Courtyard Atlanta Midtown/ Georgia Tech
1132 Techwood Dr NW, Atlanta
GA 30318

1 Corinthians 12:12(NLT) - The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ.

Sundays
10:00 AM - Worship With Prayer

4

The Miracle of Sarah’s Conception

baby

Today's blog is an excerpt from Faith Science.

Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised. Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable. - Hebrews 11:11–12 kjv

I defined the spiritual method as, “The use of faith in the Word of God as the activation energy necessary to cause matter to change form.” Sarah’s faith in the Word of God directly transformed her physical body. Her faith caused a successful reaction between the spiritual matter of the Word of God and the physical matter of her body, resulting in the miraculous conception of Isaac. Withal, these words of Paul in Hebrews 11:11–12 merely scratch the surface of this powerful case study of the practical application of faith in the life of Sarah.

God promised Abram the same blessing over and over until Abram finally stood up to God in Genesis 15 and questioned him concerning his descendants. In Genesis 15:2–6, Abram complained that even though his blessings were great, he had no children of his own to inherit them. In response, God reassured him that he would have a son and gave him an object lesson by comparing the number of his future descendants to the stars in the sky. He then made a covenant with him that would never be broken.

In Genesis 16, things got interesting. Up to that point, God had given all of his directions to Abram and nothing to Sarai (before the name change). Therefore, Sarai was standing on Abram’s faith, and that was not enough to sustain her. She agreed that God’s plan for the family was great, but she just couldn’t conceive the possibility of it taking place without a little help. She understood her physical inability to have children and came up with her own plan.

In Genesis 16, she offered her servant, Haggai, to Abram so he could have a child. That was not God’s plan, but he allowed it to take place. He blessed Ishmael, the son of Haggai and Abram, but made it clear that his descendants would present a major problem in the future. Even though the name Sarah was placed in the Hall of Faith listed in Hebrews 11, she showed a human side just like the rest of us.

How many times have you tried to help God’s plan by taking steps of your own? Maybe God told you that he would give you a husband or wife on his schedule but you decided to settle with someone because you didn’t want to miss a great opportunity at your age. Maybe God told you that he would bless you with a nice car and you took out a loan on a luxury car that you could not afford.

Maybe you did that with your house. Maybe you did that with your ministry. God promised you great expansion, and you expanded on your own instead of waiting for his plan to come into effect. Twenty-four years after the initial move from their homeland, God renewed his covenant with Abram and Sarai, which included changing their names to Abraham and Sarah. He then promised Abraham that the heir of all of his wealth would come from a union between him and his wife. In Genesis 18, God spoke to Sarah for the first time. God also visited Abraham at his home with two angels in the form of human beings and spoke face-to-face with him.

This is important because some Christians don’t take it literally when God said that he made man in his image and his likeness in Genesis 1:26–27. They cannot conceive that we look anything like God. Well, guess what? God showed up with two angels in Genesis 18:1, and all three looked just like regular men. They sat down, let Abraham wash their feet, and ate physical food prepared for them. Now that’s fascinating! According to 1 Colossians 2:9, the fullness of the Godhead lives in the body of Jesus Christ. Hence, whenever God appeared on earth, whether in the Old or New Testament, he was Jesus.

“Where is Sarah, your wife?” the visitors asked. “She’s inside the tent,” Abraham replied. Then one of them said, “I will return to you about this time next year, and your wife, Sarah, will have a son!” Sarah was listening to this conversation from the tent. Abraham and Sarah were both very old by this time, and Sarah was long past the age of having children. So she laughed silently to herself and said, “How could a worn-out woman like me enjoy such pleasure, especially when my master—my husband— is also so old?” Then the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh? Why did she say, ‘Can an old woman like me have a baby?’ Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return about this time next year, and Sarah will have a son.” Sarah was afraid, so she denied it, saying, “I didn’t laugh.” But the Lord said, “No, you did laugh.” - Genesis 18:9–15 nlt

God told Sarah that she would have a son within one year, and she laughed. Thus, if you think you’re a loser because you didn’t believe what God said to you the first time, you’re in good company. I guess I’m too young to care about the impossibility of some of God’s promises. I believe everything like a little child does. If God says it, then I believe it and I keenly wait for it all to come to pass in my life. One day I’ll lead the church of Jesus Christ to a place where they believe God’s ability to give them victory over physical death through the power of his Holy Spirit.

Maybe it’s laughable to some people, but it’s as real as can be. What has God said to you that you still don’t believe? Do you really think he can’t get you out of poverty? Do you really think he can’t heal you of a terminal illness? Is anything too hard for the Lord? Jesus said in Matthew 19:26 that with God all things are possible, and then in Mark 9:23, he said that all things are possible to you if you believe.

Faith is more than just a religious exercise. Faith is God’s secret to getting things done. Do you want to be like God? Then operate in faith. If he says something, believe it, even if the only evidence you have is what he says. Remember that just because something is invisible and mass-less doesn’t mean that it does not exist. The lesson learned from the miracle of Sarah’s conception is that even when you initially doubt a word from the Lord, if you eventually choose to believe, he’ll still do it!

6

Ask Donnell - Why Would God Put The Tree of The Knowledge of Good And Evil In Eden?

Ask Donnell - Why Would God Put The Tree of The Knowledge of Good And Evil In Eden?

We received the following question; "Since God knew that The Tree of The Knowledge of Good and Evil was nothing but trouble why would He even put it in The Garden?"

This is a great question. If you really think about it, that's the type of question that many people would like to ask but few will ever receive a satisfactory answer. God created a perfect garden with perfect created beings yet He placed a tree in the middle that held the curse of certain death. Why would He do that? Why put the tree there then tell the humans they can't touch it for their own good? Why create the tree at all? Thankfully, we'll address those questions today.

Genesis 1:26-27(NLT) - Then God said, "Let us make human beings in our image, to be like ourselves. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground." So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

When God created human beings He gave them something He had never given to any other created being. He gave them total dominion. They were given free reign over His earthly creation and with that they were given the power of choice. As the rulers of the earth they could make decisions on their own as it pertained to the earth and God would accept those decisions. In fact, in Genesis 2:19-20, God gave Adam the opportunity to name all the animals and God accepted those names. Nonetheless, the power of choice can only operate where there are options to choose from and the concept of a good choice assumes that there is also a bad one.

Deuteronomy 30:19-20(NKJV) - I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them."

God said, "May heaven and earth stand as witnesses to the following; I give you choices, so make the right choice." Why let us choose? So we can choose to love Him. That's almost like a mission statement from God to humans. God's love for humanity was demonstrated in the blessing of free will. That's a great gift because by it's very nature, free will is the epitome of freedom. When people can choose as they please they are free.

Hence, people can choose right or wrong and that's the way God likes it. God's Will is for us to have choices so that we could make the right choices. He wants us to choose to love Him. He doesn't force us to love Him because that wouldn't be authentic love. How would you feel if your spouse forced you to love? That's not love at all, isn't it? That's not what God wants either. He wants us to choose Him. He wants us to choose life.

Genesis 2:8-9(NLT) - Then the Lord God planted a garden in Eden in the east, and there he placed the man he had made. The Lord God made all sorts of trees grow up from the ground—trees that were beautiful and that produced delicious fruit. In the middle of the garden he placed the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Was the tree inherently bad? I don't think so because everything God created He called good in Genesis 1. Yet, He expected Adam and Eve to obey His directions. It had more to do with obedience to His instructions and less to do with the actual tree. As a result, God wanted them to honor Him with their obedience. Also, look at the name of the tree. When they ate it, their eyes were opened and they knew good and evil. Until then, they only knew good and that was good enough for God. Is there something inherently wrong with knowing good and evil? Perhaps so, it sure opened up a can of worms that we still can't close today. However, at that time God didn't want them to learn it that way and that's all that matters. He obviously had a different plan.

So why did God plant the garden and put The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and The Tree of Life in the middle of it? It was a test of love. He laid before them life and death, blessings and cursings, then told them to choose life. He didn't force them to choose life but He encouraged them to choose it. That's His nature when it comes to His relationship with humanity.

He wanted an authentic relationship with us so He wanted us to be free to choose whether we wanted one with Him also. Any relationship that involves one party being forced to participate in it is not a real one. God loves us so much that He gave us the option to accept or reject His love. God continued that pattern of choice with His plan of redemption through Jesus.

John 3:16-17(NKJV) - For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

Many people ask the question, "Why would a good God let people go to hell?" The answer is the same. God wants people to choose Jesus. Whoever believes in Him will live. He won't force salvation on anybody. He lays before us options. We can choose heaven or hell, life or death, blessings or cursings. That's how He operates. Our choices have consequences but God's love allows us to make those choices regardless of those consequences. He loves people who choose Jesus just like people who choose hell.

In The Garden of Eden, there were two trees in the center; one provided life and the other death. God didn't force Adam and Eve to choose either but He clearly explained the consequences then He got out of their way. He did that then and He does the same now. He makes sure we know the consequences so that when we make our choices we can be held responsible without ever being able to blame Him. In the end, it's your power of choice that makes you human. You can pray for God to do all kinds of things in your life but what you cannot ask Him to do is take away your power of choice. Let's bring this to a fitting conclusion.

John 17:14-19(NKJV) - I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world, Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.

When Jesus prayed this prayer He had the opportunity to save us all from this world by asking The Father to take us out of it. Yet, that was not His prayer. He prayed that The Father leave us in the world but keep us from the evil in it. That's the same approach God used with Adam and Eve in The Garden. He didn't take them away from the Tree of The Knowledge of Good and Evil, nor did He take the tree away from them. He put them and the tree in the garden but He gave them something that was supposed to keep them from the evil.

He gave them the truth and had they accepted the truth they would have been protected from the evil. Jesus said that the truth can sanctify us which means that it can set us apart or separate us from the evil in this world. As a result, the first thing the enemy did when he tempted Eve in Genesis 3 was to challenge the truth of God's Word that she had received. The moment she let go of the truth by questioning God's Word she was susceptible to the evil that was lurking in Eden. In much the same way, it's the truth of God's Word that keeps us from the evil in the world.

God's plan with Jesus was not to take the evil out of the world nor take us out of the world so we could escape the evil. His plan was to leave us right in the middle of the evil but protected from it by the truth. When we embrace God's truth we are safe from the evil of this world. He gave Adam and Eve the truth about the tree knowing that armed with the truth they would be protected. That's how it was supposed to work because the truth should have kept them away from the tree.

Nonetheless, that's God's modus operandi. He doesn't remove evil from the world and He doesn't remove us from it, He just shields us from evil by giving us the truth. He doesn't remove the darkness, nor does He remove the light, He just puts the light in the darkness. This will continue until Jesus returns. Only then will the earth be finally purged of all evil and only then will we be removed from it.

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Why Knowing The Holy Spirit Is So Important

Why Knowing The Holy Spirit  Is So Important

Today's blog is an excerpt from my book, "Mysterious Kingdom of Heaven".

Understanding the Importance of the Holy Spirit

Colossians 1:15-22(NLT) - Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see— such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him. He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together. Christ is also the head of the church, which is his body. He is the beginning, supreme over all who rise from the dead. So he is first in everything. For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross. This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.

The message in the opening line of Colossians 1:15-22 is very substantial. It basically states that Christ is the physical manifestation of God. Therefore, as Jesus told Phillip and the other disciples in John 14:8-10, seeing Him was the same as seeing The Father. However, once Jesus physically left the earth and returned to heaven, He sent The Holy Spirit. For that reason, if we don’t see The Holy Spirit as equal to God, we’ll completely underestimate our Christianity.

Many members of The Body of Christ today wish they could have been alive during the days when Jesus walked the earth. They cannot conceive anything greater than sitting at His feet, conversing and sharing their lives with Him. It’s definitely a valid desire that we should all have but there is a dilemma here. Didn’t Jesus say that He would return to earth as The Holy Spirit in John 14:15-19? Didn’t He say that He would not leave us as orphans? Didn’t He promise to never leave us alone? So why are we wishing for something that we already have?

John 14:11-17(NLT) - Just believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me. Or at least believe because of the work you have seen me do. “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it! “If you love me, obey my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.

Why desire an opportunity to walk with Jesus like the disciples when you have the opportunity to have Jesus live inside of you? Jesus said that we could do even greater works than He did because He was going to The Father. Why is that important? He went to The Father and sent The Holy Spirit. He was with the disciples before He returned to heaven but was in them after. With this understanding, we can ask anything in His name and He will do it. That’s His guarantee. It only makes sense when we see the relevance of The Holy Spirit. We can’t think of Him any less than we think of Jesus Christ, our hero who died on the cross for our sins.

In fact, since I’m on this issue, let me share something else. How do you think Jesus was capable of rising from the dead? Yes, I agree with The Apostle Paul’s statement in Galatians 1:1 that The Father raised Him up. On the other hand, since The Father remained in heaven throughout the entire progression of The Resurrection of His Son, how do you think He did it? When you discover the answers to questions like these in the scriptures, your perception of who you are in Christ must change.

Romans 8:11(NLT) - The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.

Jesus was The One who rose from the dead but it was The Holy Spirit who raised Him. He is the same Holy Spirit who lives inside of every Christian. Accordingly, as much as we marvel at the thought of Jesus Christ destroying the work of the enemy, we must marvel that The Father thought us worthy enough to do the same. The thirty three years Jesus spent walking the earth as a man were an example of what we can do when we rightly discern the Holy Spirit. The disciples didn’t have an advantage over us. They just understood what we struggle to understand. When Jesus walked the earth they looked to Him to do everything they needed but once they received The Holy Spirit, He could do all He wanted through them.

The Holy Spirit has everything we could ever need from God because He is God. The Mystery of The Trinity is that The Holy Spirit can live inside of us on earth while Jesus and The Father remain seated on thrones in heaven. Whatever you can imagine Jesus doing in your situation if He was going through it you can do it yourself. If Jesus can conquer the most powerful foes and escape every possible trap of the enemy so can you. If Jesus could call legions of angels at will, so can you. If Jesus can speak a Word and see deliverance, so can you. Nothing ever stopped Jesus from operating in the fullness of God’s authority but unbelief. So if you have The Holy Spirit inside of you and you’re being stopped then you know what’s stopping you.

James 1:22-25(NLT), “But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.”

You have two choices. You can marvel at this Heavenly Wisdom and walk away unchanged or you can make the decision to transform your life. As you look into the mirror of the scriptures you can see the difference between God’s image and your image. If you see a discrepancy anywhere, it is your responsibility to adjust. God’s not going to change to match what you look like because He is perfect. Genesis 1:26 should open your eyes to the truth of your creation in God’s image and likeness. Therefore, I can’t say enough that anything outside of God should be purged from inside of you.

The Holy Spirit is more than a speech therapist that teaches charismatic Christians to speak in tongues. He is more than the energy that causes excited people to dance around during worship services or inadvertently jerk their shoulders when they “feel the power.” He is the personification of Christ and the same way He moved over the earth at Creation, He entered the physical body of Mary to produce Jesus.

According to Ephesians 1:13-14, He also entered your body when you accepted Jesus into your heart. In Hosea 4:6, God lamented that His people are still being destroyed for a lack of knowledge. Hence, a continued rejection of knowledge will position every Christian for destruction. Therefore, follow the directions of 1 Peter 5:8 and be alert to what God’s Word says about The Holy Spirit because the enemy is looking for ignorant Christians to destroy.

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Ask Donnell: Must All Christians Uphold Jewish Traditions?

Ask Donnell: Must All Christians Uphold Jewish Traditions?

We received the following question;

"What can I say to my Christian friends who still follow The Sabbath with every phase of the moon, follow the law and perform all the Jewish feasts and traditions? They also call Jesus by His Hebrew name, "Yeshua". They suggest that I am the one who is not following God's Will for how we are to live and we all need to call him by his "real" name."

Thanks for this question. It's one that needs to be addressed because of its relevance to what's currently going on in The Body of Christ. Christians who have nothing to do with the Nations of Israel or Judah other than their Christian beliefs are using Jewish greetings. They are praying under Jewish "prayer tents" like they did in The Wilderness. They are blowing the shofar. Some even wear Jewish robes and Kipas on their heads. Some rock back and forth while they pray like the Jews do. They utter Jewish prayers. They celebrate bar and bat mitzvahs. Some call themselves Israelites. They have adopted Jewish names. They worship in synagogues. I can go on and on. They do everything they can to connect with Jewish traditions but one minor thing is missing; they are not Jewish.

In fact, this is not a new issue. It's been a hot topic since the foundation of The Church. That's actually good news because if it was a major issue back then, it is clearly addressed in The Bible somewhere. Apostle Paul's God-given assignment was to clear up many of these confusing and distracting issues in the early church. The most challenging issues to deal with in The Church today are ones that are relatively new because we won't find them verbatim in The Bible. Without a clear precedent in scripture we need supernatural wisdom and guidance from The Holy Spirit to present solutions that are completely objective and accurate.

Otherwise, the door remains open for tireless debate and that's not what we want. Nonetheless, this is an "open and shut" case so let's get to the bottom of it right now. First, observing The Sabbath is a non-issue that I addressed several years ago in the blog, "Ask Donnell: Does The Church Need To Keep The Sabbath?" Read it for a thorough understanding of how we should approach the law in general and The Sabbath in particular based on the words of Jesus. Let's move on now from that discussion.

Acts 1:8(KJV) - But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

Once The Holy Spirit fell upon the disciples and everyone else in The Upper Room, The Church of Jesus Christ was launched. Instantly, they took the gospel to Jerusalem which was familiar territory. Hence, when The Church first started, it consisted mainly of Jewish people so it was easy. They all followed the same traditions and all came from the same culture so they were able to keep many of their traditions even though they chose to follow Christ. However, The Church began to grow and grow as the gospel went next to Judea, then to Samaria, then to the uttermost parts of the earth. Whether that's the exact historical sequence of the spread of the gospel or not, the point is that the gospel spread from the local Jewish community to everywhere. That's when things started to get confusing. Let's pick up the story from there.

Acts 21:18-25(NLT) - The next day Paul went with us to meet with James, and all the elders of the Jerusalem church were present. 19 After greeting them, Paul gave a detailed account of the things God had accomplished among the Gentiles through his ministry. 20 After hearing this, they praised God. And then they said, "You know, dear brother, how many thousands of Jews have also believed, and they all follow the law of Moses very seriously. 21 But the Jewish believers here in Jerusalem have been told that you are teaching all the Jews who live among the Gentiles to turn their backs on the laws of Moses. They've heard that you teach them not to circumcise their children or follow other Jewish customs. 22 What should we do? They will certainly hear that you have come. 23 "Here's what we want you to do. We have four men here who have completed their vow. 24 Go with them to the Temple and join them in the purification ceremony, paying for them to have their heads ritually shaved. Then everyone will know that the rumors are all false and that you yourself observe the Jewish laws. 25 "As for the Gentile believers, they should do what we already told them in a letter: They should abstain from eating food offered to idols, from consuming blood or the meat of strangled animals, and from sexual immorality."

While many of the disciples initially clung to their own Jewish people, The Apostle Paul accepted his call by God to minister to the Gentiles. As a result, his approach was quite different. To that end, he developed a reputation of being a bit of a radical in some aspects of the theology he presented especially when it related to Jewish traditions. When news of his teaching got back to the "First Church" in Jerusalem, James and the entire eldership of The Church confronted him when he returned there to report on his ministry.

They heard that he encouraged Jewish Christians to move on from their traditions and customs including circumcision. Paul didn't defend himself. They knew that if Paul was telling Jews to leave their traditions, the Jerusalem Church would be totally against him. So, to keep peace, the elders reserved the Jewish traditions for the Jews and asked Paul to participate in the purification ceremony as a sign that he agreed. However, they settled on only three requirements for the Gentiles; don't eat food offered to idols, don't consume blood or meat of strangled animals and stay away from sexual immorality.

If any of that was a lie, Apostle Paul would have defended himself and he did not because it was all true. For instance, he said in 1 Corinthians 7:18-19(NKJV); "Was anyone called while circumcised? Let him not become uncircumcised. Was anyone called while uncircumcised? Let him not be circumcised. Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing, but keeping the commandments of God is what matters." Ouch! In other words, let the Jews keep their traditions and let the Gentiles not worry about them because obeying God is what matters and not following traditions.

That's just a sample of what he said concerning circumcision. He also addressed it in detail in Romans 2, 3 and 4, Galatians 2, 5 and 6, Ephesians 2, Philippians 3 and Colossians 2. By the time he was done there was no more confusion as to whether or not Gentile Christians needed to be physically circumcised. He put that to bed and dropped the mic. Now, on to the issue of Jewish feasts which is a major highlight of your question. Apostle Paul also addressed that directly so we don't need to beat around the bush with it. Let's hit it head on with the truth of the scriptures.

Colossians 2:16-17(NLT) - So don’t let anyone condemn you for what you eat or drink, or for not celebrating certain holy days or new moon ceremonies or Sabbaths. For these rules are only shadows of the reality yet to come. And Christ himself is that reality.

Shadows.. that's what they are.. shadows of Jesus Christ. He is the light and every tradition is a shadow. There's nothing wrong with calling Jesus, "Yeshua" which is His Hebrew name. If translated to English it would be Joshua. We get Jesus from the Greek translation which is the main language of The New Testament. If you prefer to talk in Hebrew, go for it. If you prefer Greek, go for it. If you prefer English, go for it. Yeshua knows we're talking to Him and we know we're talking to Him when we say Jesus.

There's nothing wrong with celebrating the Jewish holidays, talking Hebrew instead of English, using a prayer shawl or blowing a Jewish shofar. There's nothing wrong with celebrating Hanukkah or lighting a jewish menorah in your house. What's wrong is when we think these things have any power in them when they do not. They don't save! They don't heal! They don't deliver!

They are traditions from the Jewish people that were precursors of Jesus. They prepared the way for Jesus for thousands of years. When Jesus came we didn't need them anymore. We're done with them the same way we're done with animal sacrifices. The shadow is no longer needed when the light has come. Apostle Paul had no problem helping people to realize that it was time to let that stuff go and grab on to Jesus. So, here's the bottom line.

Romans 14:5-11(NLT) - In the same way, some think one day is more holy than another day, while others think every day is alike. You should each be fully convinced that whichever day you choose is acceptable. 6 Those who worship the Lord on a special day do it to honor him. Those who eat any kind of food do so to honor the Lord, since they give thanks to God before eating. And those who refuse to eat certain foods also want to please the Lord and give thanks to God. 7 For we don't live for ourselves or die for ourselves. 8 If we live, it's to honor the Lord. And if we die, it's to honor the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. 9 Christ died and rose again for this very purpose—to be Lord both of the living and of the dead. 10 So why do you condemn another believer? Why do you look down on another believer? Remember, we will all stand before the judgment seat of God.

Christians who feel like it's important to keep the Jewish traditions are free to do so. Personally, I consider them important from the perspective of better understanding The Bible and how God related to the Jewish people. They all meant something and I would love to know more about God through those traditions. However, they are not a law unto themselves and they are not to be forced upon people. They are good to know about but that's about it.

Hence, Christians who believe these are wholly unnecessary and choose not to keep them are free to do so. They can't condemn us and we can't condemn them. Don't let your friends put any pressure on you to be like them and don't return the favor if they choose to do so. They have to answer to God just like you do. What matters is that we all choose to honor The Lord from the depth of our hearts.

We don't have to agree on how we do it but we have to agree to do it. Honor The Lord with your life the way He wants you to honor Him. Love Him with all of your heart, soul and strength while at the same time, love your neighbor like Christ loves you and you love yourself. On these two commandments hang all of the law and traditions. Start with those and you will satisfy God's requirements as outlined by Jesus. That's the end of the story.

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The Power of The Sacrifice of Jesus

Date - Sunday, June 14th, 2015

The Body Church
Courtyard Atlanta Midtown/ Georgia Tech
1132 Techwood Dr NW, Atlanta
GA 30318

1 Corinthians 12:12(NLT) - The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ.

Sundays
10:00 AM - Worship With Prayer

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