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2

Come To God's Table

Come To God's Table

Psalms 23:1-6(NKJV) - The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever.

As my enemies look on, God has laid out His table before me. Fascinating. Instead of getting rid of them He lets them hang around to watch me succeed in spite of them right before their eyes. Maybe that's why some our enemies just will not go away. They're not supposed to. Otherwise, they'll miss the show that God has planned. That's not a bad idea after all. It may not be the way we would do it but who cares about our way anyway. We have our ways but God's ways are so much higher. This is what He says in Isaiah 55:8-9(NKJV); "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," says the Lord. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts."

Welcome to today's blog. It is a continuation from yesterday's blog, "The Lord Is My Shepherd". I know this blog series is for someone because God made me drop the other blog I wanted to write for this one. Anytime He sovereignly takes over something I'm doing like that I know it's a big deal to Him. So let's dig into what God has to say to us.

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.

What? Don't take us out of the world? Yup, that's exactly what Jesus asked The Father to do and His prayer was answered. We're in the middle of enemy territory but we can't leave just yet. Regardless of how hard it gets we are going nowhere. We can't run from our enemies and go hide somewhere. We can't cut ourselves off from the world and form a Christian community on some secluded compound where we can feel safe among friends. We have to live in this world among people whose allegiance is to the god of this world, the devil.

Regardless, here is the promise God has made to us all. Though we are surrounded by enemies they cannot touch us. He will keep us from the evil one. I don't know what kind of environment you live, work or play in. Maybe it's blatantly hostile. Maybe there's subtle prejudice. Maybe you're being treated unjustly. Maybe you feel isolated. Today, God wants you to put on a brave face. Yes, they are all around you. Yes, they can see you. Yes, they can talk to you and plot for you. However, no they can't touch you. No, they can't stop you. No, they don't have the power to do anything of consequence to alter the course of your life.

So, how are you kept or sanctified from the evil one? Through the truth of God's Word. In other words, what keeps you going in the midst of enemy territory is bringing to remembrance what God has said to you. Hopefully, this gives you some perspective on how you handle these issues. You can't run away from them or make them go away. You have to face them armed and ready with the truth of God's Word locked tight in your heart. The enemy knows he can't have you so he'll try to take The Word of God out of your heart if you don't understand it. (Matthew 13:19)

1 Corinthians 2:9-10(NKJV) - But as it is written: "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him." But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.

The Holy Spirit is calling you to God's table to enjoy what He's prepared for you. Come to the table in prayer. Come to the table in worship. Come to the table in obedience. Come to the table in The Word. Don't worry about who's looking. It's not about them anyway. Your enemies will burn with envy when they see what God has laid out for you. Just come to God's table.

6

The Lord Is My Shepherd

The Lord Is My Shepherd

Psalms 23:1-6(NKJV) - The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever.

This is such a beautiful picture of an ideal relationship with The Lord. It's really all about trust. With God as our shepherd, our needs are met because sheep are completely dependent on their shepherd. Sheep may not have a personal storehouse of grass hidden somewhere but they don't worry about it, they just eat what the shepherd puts before them. When Jesus taught us to pray He said in Matthew 6:11, "Give us this day our daily bread." That's a powerful concept because it demonstrates our need to seek God daily for sustenance and not trust our own resources. If we don't put our trust in God on a daily basis we are building our lives on shaky ground.

As our shepherd, God knows how to direct our lives to green pastures where we can be sustained. Then He makes us lie down there for a season. Shepherds know where to find grass and our Shepherd can do even better, He has the power to make grass grow anywhere He wants. So the same way God first created Eden then put Adam and Eve within it, anywhere God puts you already has the provision you need built into it. That's why Jesus said in Matthew 6:33(KJV); "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." You just need to seek God and He will give you what you need.

Also, God knows when we need rest. He provides times of refreshing in His presence according to Acts 3:19. He can pluck us out of storms and put us beside still waters when we need them. So sometimes He slows our lives down for our own good. We must not complain when things slow down because it's only at that time that our souls can be restored. Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-29(KJV); "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls."

God leads us in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake. In other words, His reputation is on the line not ours. With God as our shepherd we are led down the right path at all times because His name is at stake. He understands that if He directs our lives and we completely trust Him the onus is on Him to make sure things work out in our favor. Hence, He sticks His neck out for us and puts His name on the line when He directs us to do something. If it doesn't work out it will make Him look bad.

Even in evil times, God is with us and as a result, we have nothing to fear. The Bible says in 1 John 4:8 that God is love and 1 John 4:18 that perfect love casts out all fear. Therefore, since God is perfect love, as long as He is with you along your journey through tough times there is no room for fear. What's interesting is that during the journey through the valley of the shadow of death comfort comes from God's rod and staff. Do you know that the shepherd's staff is actually used sometimes to set sheep straight and keep them in line? Maybe that explains why some of the best correction we ever receive from The Lord comes during difficult times. He uses His rod to bring correction and His staff to pull us in line because He wants what's best for us.

Hebrews 12:5-11(KJV) - And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: "My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; 6 For whom the Lord loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives." 7 If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? 8 But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. 9 Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. 11 Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

If God is chastening you right now it means you're His child and that's good news. Don't complain. Learn whatever lessons you are being taught and grow from them. We'll continue from here tomorrow.

5

He'll Fight For You!

Oh, To Know You Lord!

Philippians 3:8-10(NLT) - Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith. I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead!

Everything else is worthless when compared to knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. Everything! The King James Version uses the much stronger word, dung, to describe how little we should value the things we consider to be so important in this world. Our qualifications, reputation, money, status, possessions, knowledge, etc. are nothing compared to Him. In fact, the very things that we set our alarms for and woke up this morning to do should never be placed before knowing Him. If He is not the primary reason for waking up each morning why do we wake up? Why? He should be the reason why we wake up because whether we want to admit it or not, He already is the reason why we can wake up in the first place. It's His prerogative to give us another day of life and for that we must be grateful.

Welcome to today's blog. Yesterday, at The Body Church we emphasized the importance of developing a true friendship with God. Though He might not be a respecter of persons according to Acts 10:34, He treats His friends completely differently to other people. When you're close to God there are distinct advantages that nobody else has access to. In the article, Accept God's Friend Request, a few weeks ago we studied the lives of several people who benefited from their proximity to God.

The Apostle James said in James 2:23; "And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God." In Genesis 20, God defended His friend Abraham by issuing a death threat to King Abimelech in a dream for even thinking of sleeping with Abraham's wife. A death threat? Yes, check this out;

Genesis 20(NKJV) - And Abraham journeyed from there to the South, and dwelt between Kadesh and Shur, and stayed in Gerar. 2 Now Abraham said of Sarah his wife, “She is my sister.” And Abimelech king of Gerar sent and took Sarah. 3 But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, “Indeed you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken, for she is a man’s wife.” 4 But Abimelech had not come near her; and he said, “Lord, will You slay a righteous nation also? 5 Did he not say to me, ‘She is my sister’? And she, even she herself said, ‘He is my brother.’ In the integrity of my heart and innocence of my hands I have done this.” 6 And God said to him in a dream, “Yes, I know that you did this in the integrity of your heart. For I also withheld you from sinning against Me; therefore I did not let you touch her. 7 Now therefore, restore the man’s wife; for he is a prophet, and he will pray for you and you shall live. But if you do not restore her, know that you shall surely die, you and all who are yours.” 8 So Abimelech rose early in the morning, called all his servants, and told all these things in their hearing; and the men were very much afraid. 9 And Abimelech called Abraham and said to him, “What have you done to us? How have I offended you, that you have brought on me and on my kingdom a great sin? You have done deeds to me that ought not to be done.” 10 Then Abimelech said to Abraham, “What did you have in view, that you have done this thing?” 11 And Abraham said, “Because I thought, surely the fear of God is not in this place; and they will kill me on account of my wife. 12 But indeed she is truly my sister. She is the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother; and she became my wife. 13 And it came to pass, when God caused me to wander from my father’s house, that I said to her, ‘This is your kindness that you should do for me: in every place, wherever we go, say of me, “He is my brother.”’” 14 Then Abimelech took sheep, oxen, and male and female servants, and gave them to Abraham; and he restored Sarah his wife to him. 15 And Abimelech said, “See, my land is before you; dwell where it pleases you.” 16 Then to Sarah he said, “Behold, I have given your brother a thousand pieces of silver; indeed this vindicates you[a] before all who are with you and before everybody.” Thus she was rebuked. 17 So Abraham prayed to God; and God healed Abimelech, his wife, and his female servants. Then they bore children; 18 for the Lord had closed up all the wombs of the house of Abimelech because of Sarah, Abraham’s wife.

God didn't just threaten Abimelech with death but He made all the women in his household barren just because the king thought of sleeping with Abraham's wife. Don't you want God to value you so much that He would defend you the way He defended His friend Abraham? Are you close enough to God that He could call you His friend? Do you really know Him? Do you have a track record of seeing God unleash His great power against anybody who has ever come up against you?

Oh, to know you Lord! I have enemies I cannot see plotting against me. There are traps laid out for me today that are well hidden. Without you, I will fall right into them but with you, my enemies will fall into the traps they created. Everyone who even thinks of harming me or my family will face the brute force of your power. You defend your friends so I know that you will defend me. God is ready to defend His people against their enemies. He is ready to scare the living daylights out of our enemies. It's time for the fear of The Lord to hit this earth like it never has before. Yet God can't put His fear in our enemies if we don't first put His fear in our hearts. We must willingly fear, honor and respect God before we expect anyone else to be forced to do so on our behalf.

Numbers 12:1-9(NKJV) - Then Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married; for he had married an Ethiopian woman. 2 So they said, “Has the Lord indeed spoken only through Moses? Has He not spoken through us also?” And the Lord heard it. 3 (Now the man Moses was very humble, more than all men who were on the face of the earth.) 4 Suddenly the Lord said to Moses, Aaron, and Miriam, “Come out, you three, to the tabernacle of meeting!” So the three came out. 5 Then the Lord came down in the pillar of cloud and stood in the door of the tabernacle, and called Aaron and Miriam. And they both went forward. 6 Then He said, “Hear now My words: If there is a prophet among you, I, the Lord, make Myself known to him in a vision; I speak to him in a dream. 7 Not so with My servant Moses; He is faithful in all My house. 8 I speak with him face to face, Even plainly, and not in dark sayings; And he sees the form of the Lord. Why then were you not afraid To speak against My servant Moses?” 9 So the anger of the Lord was aroused against them, and He departed.

What a fascinating account of God standing up for His friend? Pay close attention to verse 6. God demonstrated that His relationship with Moses was stronger than His relationship with any prophet. He said that when He speaks to prophets He uses visions and dreams but when He speaks to Moses He speaks face to face. Not just that, but He speaks plainly and does not use riddles. Wait, there's more. He said that Moses sees His form. What? Yes! God would manifest Himself to chat with Moses like He did with Adam and Eve. The Bible says in Exodus 33:11(NKJV), "So the Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend...."

Don't you want God to do that for you? Think about it. There are people right now gossipping about you at work when suddenly a blinding light enters the office stunning everyone. Then a deep voice like a trumpet thunders from the light calling each of them out to stand before Him. Then He asks them a simple question like He asked Aaron and Miriam, "Now you know the kind of relationship I have with (put your name here), were you not afraid to speak against my child? I talk to people through the scriptures, signs, dreams, visions and parables but I talk to (put your name here) face to face. Why did you think it was okay? Now you will feel my wrath."

Maybe it's just me but I'm tired of defending myself. I'm tired of getting deceived and bamboozled because I trust that people would treat me fairly. It's time for me to get so close to God that I never have to fight alone again. In fact, He doesn't just want to fight with me. He wants to fight for me. He wants to win battles on my behalf that I never even know were fought. I just show up after to pick up the spoils. With that arrangement, I can never lose again. He wants to be my friend. He wants to be your friend too. He wants to fight for you.

John 15:14(KJV) - Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.

It's that simple. God's friends do whatever He says. If you obey God you have accepted His request for friendship. Now read what He does for His friends. He fights for them.

2 Chronicles 20:14-26(NKJV) - Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph, in the midst of the assembly. 15 And he said, “Listen, all you of Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and you, King Jehoshaphat! Thus says the Lord to you: ‘Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s. 16 Tomorrow go down against them. They will surely come up by the Ascent of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the brook before the Wilderness of Jeruel. 17 You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem!’ Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, for the Lord is with you.” 18 And Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground, and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem bowed before the Lord, worshiping the Lord. 19 Then the Levites of the children of the Kohathites and of the children of the Korahites stood up to praise the Lord God of Israel with voices loud and high. 20 So they rose early in the morning and went out into the Wilderness of Tekoa; and as they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Hear me, O Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem: Believe in the Lord your God, and you shall be established; believe His prophets, and you shall prosper.” 21 And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed those who should sing to the Lord, and who should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army and were saying: “Praise the Lord, For His mercy endures forever.”[c] 22 Now when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushes against the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; and they were defeated. 23 For the people of Ammon and Moab stood up against the inhabitants of Mount Seir to utterly kill and destroy them. And when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, they helped to destroy one another. 24 So when Judah came to a place overlooking the wilderness, they looked toward the multitude; and there were their dead bodies, fallen on the earth. No one had escaped. 25 When Jehoshaphat and his people came to take away their spoil, they found among them an abundance of valuables on the dead bodies,[d] and precious jewelry, which they stripped off for themselves, more than they could carry away; and they were three days gathering the spoil because there was so much. 26 And on the fourth day they assembled in the Valley of Berachah, for there they blessed the Lord; therefore the name of that place was called The Valley of Berachah[e] until this day.

2

Waking Up To The Sound of God's Voice!

Waking Up To The Sound of God's Voice

Isaiah 50:4-5(NKJV) - “The Lord God has given Me The tongue of the learned, That I should know how to speak A word in season to him who is weary. He awakens Me morning by morning, He awakens My ear To hear as the learned. The Lord God has opened My ear; And I was not rebellious, Nor did I turn away.

God has impeccable timing. Over and over I hear His voice the instant I awake from sleep. Sometimes, He gives me a scripture. Other times, He gives me specific instructions but at all times whatever He says is loaded with power. I am learning that there is a dimension of spiritual wisdom reserved for those who receive a direct impartation from God Himself. He's eager to share what's on His heart but He first needs to find those of us who are willing to listen. Morning by morning, He awakens my ear to hear mysteries so that I could speak profound things reserved only for the wise.

This fresh revelation has the power to transform everything both inside of me and within those who receive what He has given me to say. If you choose to wake up to the sound of God's Voice, you too will have a word in season that will bring strength to the weary. You too, will have the ability to speak with supernatural wisdom. You too, will have open spiritual ears to hear wondrous things but there is one condition. You cannot be rebellious and you cannot turn away. From Isaiah 55:11, we understand that God's Word will not return to Him void so He won't give it to you if He knows He won't get results.

Welcome back to the blog. Hopefully, you took advantage of the break to catch up on the Worship sermon series that we posted to the site. This morning God told me that many of us are blindsided by the enemy because we do not position ourselves to hear His Voice consistently. We decipher what God is doing by construing that if the enemy is attacking us then God must have something planned. Though that may be correct, God wants to remind us that He's actually a person and we can talk to Him. He's also the revealer of secrets according to Daniel 2:28. As we discussed in our sermon series, nobody shouts a secret. If you're going to hear secrets from God you need to be very close to Him.

Now, let's go back to the beginning of the blog. Why is it so important to hear God's Voice the moment we wake up? Is that even necessary? Why do we have to even wake up to hear from God? Can't God just speak to us while we sleep with dreams?

Job 33:14-18(NLT) - For God speaks again and again, though people do not recognize it. He speaks in dreams, in visions of the night, when deep sleep falls on people as they lie in their beds. He whispers in their ears and terrifies them with warnings. He makes them turn from doing wrong; he keeps them from pride. He protects them from the grave, from crossing over the river of death.

Yes, God can speak to us in dreams but not all of us have the ability to recognize what He's saying. Any dream can be a message from God but every dream is not. In fact, even if you get a dream from God that does not mean you know what it means. You can make up your own meaning but if you do so, you'll probably get it wrong. It is true that we are in the last days and with the outpouring of The Holy Spirit has come an increase of dreams, visions and prophetic utterances. However, with an increase of dreams must come an increase of dream interpretation. As you can see by reading The Bible, anybody can dream but very few can interpret.

Ecclesiastes 5:3,7(NKJV) - For a dream comes through much activity, And a fool’s voice is known by his many words... For in the multitude of dreams and many words there is also vanity. But fear God.

If you're going to try to guide your life strictly by dreams you're going to be very confused. Why? Some of your dreams reflect an over-active mind. Sadly, that's one reason why some spiritual people veer over the edge and become spooky people. They don't recognize the line that separates a true message from God and their imagination. Anyway, that's why sometimes God chooses to wake us up to speak to us instead of giving us the directions we desire in a dream while we sleep. He doesn't want us to miss His voice in the midst of our internal noise.

So if we can be noisy on the inside while we sleep what about while we are fully awake during the course of a normal day? Why can't God wait until we wake up and get rolling with our day to start speaking? I'll put it like this. If your sleep can be noisy because of all the things on your mind what do you think your day can be like? Remember, sleep usually takes place in the midst of physical silence so all of the noise is internal but once your day gets started the decibel level of the noise becomes deafening. All of the activities of your day can overwhelm the one voice you need to hear and that's God's Voice. So what do you do?

Psalm 4:4(NKJV) - Be angry, and do not sin. Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still. Selah

Psalm 63:6(NKJV) - When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches.

Psalm 149:5(KJV) - Let the saints be joyful in glory: let them sing aloud upon their beds.

Take advantage of the most quiet times you have each day which are just before you sleep and just after you awake. Meditate, be still, remember The Lord and sing praises upon your bed. Think about that. When you lay on your bed, you have a great opportunity to set the tone for your night and your day ahead. In Psalm 4:4, the Psalmist David says it's okay to be angry as long as you don't sin. Then he immediately follows that by saying meditate with your heart on your bed and be still. Hmmm, what's the connection between anger and meditation? Let's see. Have you ever gone to bed completely distressed or beside yourself with anger? Did you try to get a good night's sleep? What do you think that did to your sleep? The best way to be tormented in your sleep is to be tormented before you sleep.

The scripture instructs us to meditate on The Lord and be still upon our beds. You might not control your circumstances while you are awake but you can control what your sleep will be like. David's son Solomon said the following in Proverbs 3:24(KJV); "When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet." I'm sure you've heard some version of the saying, "Don't lose sleep over that." Well, if you want to develop your ability to hear God's Voice clearly don't let anything or anybody rob you of your sleep. Remember, you don't just want to hear God while you sleep, you want to hear Him before you sleep and just after you awake when your heart is completely still.

Ephesians 4:26-27(NKJV) - “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil.

When you let the sun go down on your wrath, guess who you've given place to? The devil! He loves angry, bitter, resentful people. There's nothing like some wrath to open the door for him to walk right into your life. Many people have done things they regret because they let anger linger in their hearts. They may be good people but the devil exploited their anger. Do you want the devil and demons to visit you while you sleep? Go to bed angry! However, do you want The Lord to visit you? Go to bed meditating on His Word with a praise on your heart! Still your heart and focus it on The Lord.

Psalm 27:8(NLT) - My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.”

The moment you awake is one of the best times to hear from God. He is inviting you to talk to Him. What does your heart say?

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The Body Church - Worship (Part Three)

Date - Sunday, September 14th, 2014

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
11:00 AM - Worship With The Word

www.TheBodyChurchInc.org

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The Body Church - Worship (Part Two)

Date - Sunday, September 7th, 2014

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
11:00 AM - Worship With The Word

www.TheBodyChurchInc.org

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Why Does God Care About Us So Much? (Part Two)

Why Does God Care About Us So Much?

1 John 4:16(NKJV) - And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.

Do you believe the love God has for you? Do you really? If you would only believe His love, it would change your life.

Romans 8:35-39(NKJV) - Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: "For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter." Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

How He loves us.. Oh how He loves us... Oh how He loves us... Oh how He loves...

This is a continuation from yesterday's blog; "Why Does God Care About Us So Much?" After writing that blog and turning off my computer, God said to me clearly that the top reason why He cares about us so much is quite simple: It's in His nature. God cares because that's who He is. He doesn't choose to love, He is love. He can't help Himself. His love defines Him.

Why is it important to understand how God's love really works? Glad you asked. It's important because it shows that God's love has absolutely nothing to do with us and all to do with Him. He offers His love freely regardless of what we've done or not done and all we have to do is receive it. It's the overarching factor above everything else and helps to explain why He is considerate of us even we're not considerate of Him.

Psalms 139:13-16(NLT) - You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother's womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.

Why does God care about us so much? The last reason we'll address today is that He is a loving Father and we are His Children. Can you picture a doting Father looking at an ultrasound of his baby developing in the womb of his wife? In much the same way, God watched us as we were formed. Regardless of the circumstances of our birth, He paid attention to the entire process. He was interested in us before we were born. Thanks be to God for His love.

When you receive a revelation of God's Love you will change the way you look at yourself. You will stop settling for less than His love would desire for you. You will begin to value yourself because of the value God places in you. You will stop self-destructive activities. Your confidence will skyrocket because you know you are loved by Love Himself. Even if your situation is troubling, remember God's Love is always available to you. It's His Love that kept you through life's challenges and it's His Love that will take you to the finish line. Nothing can stop His love from getting to you, whether you are on top of the highest mountain or at the bottom of the lowest pit. In the words of Apostle Paul in Romans 8:38 - "For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

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Why Does God Care About Us So Much?

What Is Man?



Psalm 8:1-9(NLT) - O Lord, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth! Your glory is higher than the heavens. You have taught children and infants to tell of your strength, silencing your enemies and all who oppose you. When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers— the moon and the stars you set in place— what are mere mortals that you should think about them, human beings that you should care for them? Yet you made them only a little lower than God and crowned them with glory and honor. You gave them charge of everything you made, putting all things under their authority— the flocks and the herds and all the wild animals, the birds in the sky, the fish in the sea, and everything that swims the ocean currents. O Lord, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth!

I sat in tears writing this blog as I worshiped The Lord from the depths of my heart. The same God who created the vast universe and orchestrated the intricate details of human DNA is interested in a personal relationship with me. By a mere thought in His consciousness my existence could be nothing but a memory. Yet, He chooses to use my life to fulfill His purpose on the earth. What is man that your are mindful of us? What is man that you made us a little lower than yourself? Why did you consider us worthy of glory and honor? Why did you put us in charge of your earthly creation? I bless you Lord from the depths of my heart. Thank you, thank you, thank you. If other human beings choose not to honor you, there will continue to remain a remnant who will praise you. If the remnant stops, there will still be me.

Welcome to today's blog. Our current message series at The Body Church is Worship and as we delve deeper into understanding this most important aspect of Christianity God's Word has been changing our hearts. The worship this week was amazing at our Sunday service. People plugged into the spirit realm and let God's glory shift the atmosphere. Within that atmosphere we were able to prophesy and lay hands on each other for breakthrough. When the worship sets the tone like that for a church service, everything else works well. Now back to the blog.

Why does God care about us so much?

Genesis 1:26-28(NKJV) - Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

Reason number one for God's affinity for humanity can be found at the beginning of time. When God sees us He sees Himself. A human being can be described as His "mini-me". No other created being, regardless of how glorious, has that distinction nor can ever have it. We were made in His image and likeness with an assignment to recreate on earth what He already established in heaven. As a result, God truly values us. He spoke every other created entity into being but when it was time to make man He molded our bodies with His hands out of the earth then personally breathed His breath of life into us.

Exodus 2:23-25(NKJV) - Now it happened in the process of time that the king of Egypt died. Then the children of Israel groaned because of the bondage, and they cried out; and their cry came up to God because of the bondage. So God heard their groaning, and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God acknowledged them.

Why did God acknowledge the Children of Israel? Why did He even care about their plight? Why did He save them from their oppressors?

Deuteronomy 8:18(NKJV) - “And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.

Why did God give His people the power to get wealth? Why are Jewish people some of the richest people on earth? Did they do something to deserve it? Did they earn it?

The second reason for God's continuous attention to our lives is His covenant. When God gave His Word to Abraham He meant it. He was willing to do whatever it took to fulfill His covenant and that's the reason why He favored Israel. In fact, that's the reason why He still favors Israel. It has absolutely nothing to do with them and everything to do with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. God struck a one-sided deal with some human beings and was willing to die to enforce it.

Galatians 3:13-16,29(NKJV) - Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. Brethren, I speak in the manner of men: Though it is only a man's covenant, yet if it is confirmed, no one annuls or adds to it. Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, "And to seeds," as of many, but as of one, "And to your Seed," who is Christ..... And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Our Heavenly Father made a covenant with two people at the same time; Abraham and his seed, Christ. Christ died so that the covenant that was made between The Father and Abraham would be extended to whoever wants to participate. Once again, God has chosen to honor human beings and for some reason continues to think highly of us. He sacrificed His life for us just so that He would have a reason to bless the rest of us the same way He blessed Israel throughout history. That's amazing. So why does God care so much about us? He has a covenant with us through Christ and He cares about His covenant. When The Father sees us, He sees Christ and anything He would do for Christ He would do for us.

When God saves you from a bad situation like He did when He saved the Children of Israel from Egypt there's one thing at the front of His mind; His covenant with Abraham's seed, Jesus. Even though it may be true that you're special to God just for being you, what's even more true is that God remembers the covenant He has with you through Jesus Christ. As a result; God favors, protects and provides for you even when you have done nothing to deserve it. You do not deserve the attention God's giving you but Jesus does. Hence, you are now God's beloved just like His beloved son. God cares for you and there's nothing you can do about that. The day you made the decision to follow Christ, you became God's business and He takes care of His business.

We'll talk more about this tomorrow.

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Friday Feature: I Curse Death (Hiding Behind Religion)

Friday Feature: I Curse Death (Hiding Behind Religion)

Welcome to our Friday feature where each week we will feature one of my books. Today's feature is an excerpt from my book, "I Curse Death".

Genesis 3:9-11 - And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. And He said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?

The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil opened Adam and Eve’s eyes to natural wisdom, but instead of empowering them, it allowed them to see their own weaknesses, which resulted in fear. Isn’t that amazing? What we got from that tree was the realization that we were naked and immediately subject to the Spirit of Fear. Oh yes, before I overlook it, we also got a curse from God, designed specifically for us.

Nonetheless, when God made man and breathed Himself into man’s body, He also made His wisdom available to man (James 1:5). With only God’s pure wisdom, Adam would have been a successful manager of all of the resources placed under his command. This reminds me of a little child, once again. A child is born into this earth with a blank mind and the parents have a few years to shape that child’s personality.

During that highly influential period, they can represent God on the earth and ensure that the child thinks like the Word of God. They can teach the child to stay under the covering provided by their Heavenly Father. I understand that this seems impossible but nothing is impossible with God (Matthew 19:26). Like Adam, a child who is taught to rule on this earth will only understand authority and is prepared to face the challenges that arise in life.

I smile when I think about what happens to many human beings who get too much information about the things of this world. They suddenly see themselves in a way that is contrary to God’s way of thinking. Their vast knowledge gives them the confidence to walk in their own power and avoid the power of God. In other words, they hide themselves. How do they hide? Like Adam and Eve, they jump behind some bushes and think God can’t see them. Let’s discuss one of these bushes.

Religion

There isn’t a more popular bush to hide behind than religion. I call religion the man-made version of a walk with God. With religion we turn the dynamic nature of daily communication with our Heavenly Father into a static representation or a form of godliness (2 Timothy 3:5).

Hence, many people do all the things that look like a relationship with God and are proud to be religious. They sing the songs, wear ten dollar “Too Blessed to Be Stressed” t-shirts, show up at church in the holiest outfits and they offer a great imitation of the Christian life. Empty repetition of religious action is a total waste of time.

If this Christian walk ever goes stale I would not enjoy it, yet many people seem to relish a dry, empty religious life. Some even act like they are doing God a favor by living like that. In contrast, God wanted Adam to walk with Him in the cool of the day and converse (Genesis 3:8).

Right now He wants this Christian life to always be on the cutting edge. We need a Word from God that is “hot off the press,” something that is still smoking because it just left the stones of fire before the throne of God, something fresh like manna. Every morning He gives us more grace and we should stay current (Lamentations 3:22&23).

We should use the provision of “manna” to the Children of Israel in the wilderness as a good illustration of how God wants to communicate with us (Exodus 16:14-36). He has something new for us everyday that we have to use during that day. The next day we can open ourselves to hear again and He will continue to supply us with fresh revelation from heaven.

Religion puts God in a box and at the same time puts us in a box. The only box that confines people without any resistance is a casket, and by the time you finish reading this book you will have a good idea of my view on the casket. It’s all about compressing a human being to fit into some preconceived notion of the ideal person.

As human beings, we can use religion to place personal limitations that God never created and to also place limitations on God’s freedom to act on our behalf (Mark 7:13). Even though He is all powerful, we can bind His hands in our own lives by limiting Him with our doctrine.

It’s easy to see what God thinks about religion by looking at Jesus and His interaction with the religious leaders of His time. A good example of this is shown in Matthew 12 when Jesus had to put the Pharisees and Scribes in their place for trying to question His actions on the Sabbath day.

I Curse Death

Jesus taught us to live in the Spirit, free from the laws that were created for the Children of Israel to give them an awareness of sin. When we live in the Spirit we will fulfill those same laws of God and that is a much easier way to live (Galatians 5:16). Thank God we now have an awareness of our righteousness and our new life in Christ. Therefore, we can all walk in the Spirit, follow the direction of God and always fit into the plan of God, which agrees with His Holy Word.

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Bold As A Lion

Bold As A Lion

Luke 10:19 (AMP) - Behold! I have given you authority and power to trample upon serpents and scorpions, and [physical and mental strength and ability] over all the power that the enemy [possesses]; and nothing shall in any way harm you.

Acts 1:8(AMP) - But you shall receive power (ability, efficiency, and might) when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be My witnesses in Jerusalem and all Judea and Samaria and to the ends (the very bounds) of the earth.

The King James Version uses the same word, "power" to describe what Jesus gave us in Luke 10:19 to defeat the enemy and what He in Acts 1:8 said the Holy Spirit will give us to preach the gospel. However, they are not the same. The power we have over the enemy is "Exousia" which is authority, hence all we have to do is speak to him in the name of Jesus and all the forces of hell must obey. On the other hand, the power we get from The Holy Spirit coming upon us is "Dunamis" which is ability and might. That's important because all Christians have "Exousia" power since it comes only by the name of Jesus. Hence we can pray for the sick, cast out demons and make declarations against the enemy.

However, until The Holy Spirit empowers us with "Dunamis" we will remain scared to death to tell our co-workers about Jesus. Isn't that amazing? It's not the same. As bold as we are in church stamping on the enemy and laying hands on people we assume we can translate that into preaching the gospel to people we meet on the streets. Well, have you ever tried that? My goodness, its easier for most of us to command the enemy to get out of our lives than to just tell a human being we don't know that Jesus loves them. It's easier to wage war against a spiritual enemy than to show love to a human. It's easier to bind principalities and powers than to be witnesses for Jesus. We all already have "Exousia" but for those of us who want boldness to spread this gospel, let's ask The Holy Spirit for "Dunamis."

Welcome to today's blog. It was 2:30 AM EST when I was up writing this blog. I had just had an interesting dream that night which left an indelible mark on my mind and heart. Let me share with you the salient points;

"I kept this lion as a pet for some time. It was extremely disciplined and fit nicely into my daily routine. One day, I put it on a leash and took it out into the streets for a walk. I didn't reach too far from the house before I started drawing some serious attention. Dogs were barking, people were staring and commotion was building. Suddenly, I released it, turned around and returned home. I could hear the mayhem in the background but I didn't care. The time had come."

The lion represents the anointing on my life. I kept it "domesticated" for some time. I attracted limited attention because of it as I've displayed it on a limited level. However, it's time for me to stop holding it back. God wants me to let it go free and whatever happens, happens. The Holy Spirit, who is the source of the anointing, is the source of my boldness. I'm not afraid. I'm taking this message to the world and The Lord will protect me.

I awoke and The Lord spoke to me with these three sciptures. 

Proverbs 28:1(NIV) - The wicked flee though no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion.

Acts 4:13(NKJV) - Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.

Acts 4:31(NIV) - After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.

Boldness is one of the most valuable traits any Christian could develop. These three scriptures demonstrate three ways to increase your level of boldness; walk in righteousness, spend time with The Lord and receive a fresh infilling of The Holy Spirit. In my dream, God challenged me to increase the level of boldness in my life and when I awoke He told me how to get it done.

What about you?

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