Tag Archives: life

Prayer warriors? you might be a nerve cell | BaptismForLife.wordpress.com

The NERVE!

I’m sure you’ve all heard this exclamation uttered in indignation by someone who was offended by the behavior of someone they expected to perform in a better manner … “The NERVE of some people!”

Well, I’d like to make today’s post a tribute to the nerve cells in the Body of Christ, as we continue this series of posts based on the book “In His Image” by Dr. Paul Brand. If you could be any type of cell in the Body of Christ, what type of cell would YOU be? If you consider yourself a “prayer warrior” in His Body, you might just be a nerve cell.

Messenger Cells

Nerve Cells

Nerve Cells!  Did you know that the longest single cell in the human body is about 4 feet long? It’s a nerve cell that runs up the entire length of the leg from the big toe, and it’s as thin as a human hair. When there’s a need in any of the cells down there in the foot, that nerve sends an instant message about what’s needed to the brain via other spinal nerves. In fact, when there is pain, or a need anywhere in the Body, it is the nerves that transmit impulses to let the brain know.

Just a quick look at Ephesians 1:22 and Colossians 1:18 should serve to inform us Who it is who serves as Head of the Body — “the brains of the outfit” so to speak — that directs all of the functions of the Body, voluntary or involuntary. Christ is all the brain the Body needs! None of us have a “better idea” how to run the Body. The job “brain cell” is not open in His Body. Some may look at all of the division and dysfunction in today’s church and think “the Head” doesn’t have a clue what’s going on in the Body. On the contrary, He knows ALL – and is using the suffering caused in the Body by such things to evaluate every cell.

And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence. (Col. 1:18)

What happens with you and I when we receive new prayer requests each week? When we receive an emergency prayer request, as we often do, don’t we immediately send a message to the brain in the Body of Christ? “Our heavenly Father,” we pray, “please send your healing power from the Head of all things to the church to our brother or sister who is in trouble.”

Prayer Warriors

How good a job am I doing as a nerve cell in the Body of Christ? The Christ of compassion hears our heartfelt emotionally driven prayers on the behalf of His people.

Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

We can also act as nerve cells on our own behalf. Let’s turn to the example of Hezekiah in and look at what moved God to answer his emotive prayer.

In those days Hezekiah was sick and near death. And Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, went to him and said to him, “Thus says the Lord: ‘Set your house in order, for you shall die and not live.’”

Then Hezekiah turned his face toward the wall, and prayed to the Lord, and said, “Remember now, O Lord, I pray, how I have walked before You in truth and with a loyal heart, and have done what is good in Your sight.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.

And the word of the Lord came to Isaiah, saying, “Go and tell Hezekiah, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of David your father: “I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; surely I will add to your days fifteen years.” (Is. 38:1-5)

For one more example, let’s also look at the book of Daniel.

Then I set my face toward the Lord God to make request by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes. And I prayed to the Lord my God, and made confession, and said, “O Lord, great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and mercy with those who love Him, and with those who keep His commandments, we have sinned and committed iniquity, we have done wickedly and rebelled, even by departing from Your precepts and Your judgments. Neither have we heeded Your servants the prophets, who spoke in Your name to our kings and our princes, to our fathers and all the people of the land. O Lord, righteousness belongs to You, but to us shame of face, as it is this day—to the men of Judah, to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all Israel, those near and those far off in all the countries to which You have driven them, because of the unfaithfulness which they have committed against You. (Dan. 9:3-7)

Prayer warriors? you might be a nerve cell  | BaptismForLife.wordpress.comIt’s evident from the wording here that Daniel viewed himself as a small part of a larger Body. Here, he was acting as a nerve cell on behalf of both his nation and his Church! The nation of Israel was in ruins — divided, dysfunctional, in captivity in Babylon, failed by its leaders — and Daniel was grieved because of that. Look at the emotion he puts into this prayer.

Now therefore, our God, hear the prayer of Your servant, and his supplications, and for the Lord’s sake cause Your face to shine on Your sanctuary, which is desolate. O my God, incline Your ear and hear; open Your eyes and see our desolations, and the city which is called by Your name; for we do not present our supplications before You because of our righteous deeds, but because of Your great mercies. O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and act! Do not delay for Your own sake, my God, for Your city and Your people are called by Your name.”

Now while I was speaking, praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the Lord my God for the holy mountain of my God, yes, while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, reached me about the time of the evening offering. And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, “O Daniel, I have now come forth to give you skill to understand. At the beginning of your supplications the command went out, and I have come to tell you, for you are greatly beloved; therefore consider the matter, and understand the vision (Dan. 9:17-23)

How’s that for an answer? Oh that we could be given the skill to fully understand what’s going on in our churches and our nation today and why both are so dysfunctional!

So, whad’ya say? Are YOU a nerve cell?

Do you see another cell or two (or three) in the Body that need you to send a compassionate message to the brain?

Do you see problems that are causing damage to the Body as a whole, and you feel the need to convey your alarm about that to the head?

If you’re a messenger, one who spends a lot of time in prayer, a “prayer warrior”, then you may just be a nerve cell in the Body of Christ.

Our Metamorphosis

After missing a post or two because of the death of a close friend, I’d like to resume a series of posts (loosely) based on a fine book called “In His Image” by Dr. Paul Brand with the whole process of life, and death, in mind.

To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die (Ecc. 3:1-2)

Ecclesiastes 3 says there is a time for everything, including times to be born and to die. To help facilitate the divine plan for mankind, even The Word was required to go through the full life-process as a human being. For Him as well, there was “a time to be born” as “the One Sent” who provided an exact pattern to show us how we can be changed to His image. He had a time to live to show us how to live — to teach us how to submit to the will of both He and His Father.

There was also for Him “a time to die” and spend 3 days and 3 nights in the grave, and then there was a time of resurrection when His physical body was changed into a glorious Spirit body again. His experience in the flesh taught Him EVERYTHING about what it is to be human. He “was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Heb. 4:15). He also “learned obedience by the things which He suffered” in the flesh (Heb 5:8).

During His physical life, “The One Sent” showed and told us what is expected of us in our physical lives, how to relate to our Father in heaven, how to communicate with Him, and how to use His example to arrive at real life. If we follow this template, Romans 8:16-19 tells us exactly what the future holds.

The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. (Rom. 8:16-19)

Our Metamorphosis | BaptismForLife.wordpress.comWhen we take the Great Baptist Jesus Christ up on His promise to “baptize with the Holy Spirit” (click here to review the “Baptism For Life” posts), He plants the “earnest of the Spirit” (2 Cor. 1:22) within us. It’s like a little bit of God’s own DNA, and we spend the rest of our lives going through a process of spiritual “DNA replacement,” growing little by little “from GLORY to GLORY” in a Biblical/spiritual metamorphosis from the old man to the new.

When we then die, we become like a chrysalis – – resting, waiting to burst forth into a glorious new life! For all of our remaining years after conversion, we are like a voracious feeding caterpillar devouring God’s word and “growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. 3:18).

In our “caterpillar stage,” we should be “working out our own salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil. 2:12) — living as though our actions have eternal consequences. Studying the word and living it so that when we die and come to that “chrysalis stage” of life, we are “sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise,” as it says in Ephesisans 1:13.
And when God seals a promise, there is no force in earth or heaven that can stop it!

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints. (Psa. 116:15)

This verse from the Psalms gives us an assurance about good men and women who live their lives well. Those in the “chrysalis stage” awaiting their transformation into a spiritual “butterfly” are precious to God. And so, the death of a close friend who has “fought the good fight … finished the race … and kept the faith” as Paul said he’d done in 2 Timothy 4:7 serves as an inspiration to re-commit ourselves to the REAL goal of life — being re-created in God’s image.

In His Image

I’d like to do something in today’s blog post that I’ve never done before – to recommend a book entitled “In His Image” by Dr. Paul Brand and Philip Yancey. As a Christian, I’m always seeking a better understanding of my God, His Christ, and the Body that they have called me to be a part of. In fact, discerning the “Body of Christ” is critical to our remaining a healthy part of that Body as we mature in the faith which was once delivered.

His Body

So let’s start out in the scriptures with 1 Cor 11:23-32. We always read this on the Passover, and if we’re not careful, we can stick it back up on the Passover shelf until next year and just forget about it …(read- vs. 29)

For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”

For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes. Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup.  For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. (1 Cor. 11:23-29)

Just what are we to be discerning about the Lord’s Body, and how are we to discern it? Is there a pattern that we can use to examine the Lord’s Body? Can we look at this as a daily, ongoing spiritual exam, like a doctor examining a patient as we look not only at the Body of Christ as a whole, but at our own contributions to the healthy operation of the Body. Why is this lack of RIGHT discernment cited as the cause of what we see in vs. 30?

For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world. (1 Cor. 11:30-32)

In light of all the illness, heavy trials, and untimely deaths in all of the churches of God today, maybe we should take a long hard look at ourselves and how we regard the Lord’s Body, as it is presented in the scriptures. We ARE, after all, being created “in His image and in His likeness”, and though we are dwelling in these temporary physical bodies now, as called out ones, we are being re-created in His spiritual image and likeness. As a means to facilitate that re-creation, we have been placed in a spiritual BODY as well. There ARE many bodily processes and functions we can learn from as we go through this life-long transition.

For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. (1 Cor. 12:12-13)

Learning In The Body

How much of what we experience in life as members of His Body does He vicariously experience because He is the Head of His Body, and ‘lives in us’? Is His Body ‘still suffering’ in us? (in our flesh, so to speak), when we are going through our own baptisms of fire (fiery trials)? Could Jesus Christ still be doing, through His Body (the church) what He did in His own human body while He lived in it?

though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. (Heb. 5:8)

Is Christ still learning, as He lives in us while we learn obedience by the things which we suffer? This goes to the heart of what it means to become a part of the Body of Christ.

That there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. (1 Cor 12:25-26)

Remember we referred to vs. 13 earlier. Now, notice in vs. 25 and 26 how intimate a thing we share, not only with Christ, but with each other. The word for “suffer with” is the Greek word, sumpascho (G4841), which means to experience pain jointly.

 In His Image, baptismforlife.wordpress.comI now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church (Col. 1:2)

This attitude evidenced in Paul was one of a literal slave to his Master. He was willing to suffer anything for the sake of Jesus Christ’s body, “which is the church.” What does it mean here when it says ‘that which is “lacking”? how could there be anything ‘lacking’ in  in the afflictions of Christ?

Just let me ask this question: Did Christ’s experience in his human body teach Him about the full spectrum of human experience? Did He experience life as a paraplegic, as a blind man, as a couple raising an autistic child, as a single mother of 7, as a man stricken with cancer, or any of a host of ailments, trials, and maladies we see today in the church?

And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. (Eph. 1:22-23)

This speaks of Christ as the Head of the Body … a position and responsibility given to Him by God the Father. Why did the God of all wisdom place Christ in such a position? In the human body, nerve impulses travel from literally every part of the body to the brain, which regulates bodily functions to supply every need for every cell in the body.

The author of “In His Image” views himself as a single cell in the Body of Christ, and based on a lifetime of medical experience, shares some very valuable insights that we can profit from as fellow members of the Body. I’ll be sharing more details, based on the book, personal observation, and the scriptures in my next few blog posts. Thanks for reading.

A Prophecy YOU Can Fulfill!

In my 35 years of church experience, it seems like no subject creates more excitement than Bible prophecy, particularly prophecies that speak of the second coming of Jesus Christ, and His rule and reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. That really is a beautiful thing to contemplate, especially as the world around us becomes more and more violent, and ungodly with each passing day.

A Prophecy You Can Fulfill | BaptismForLife.wordpress.com

There are many prophecies in the OT that have already been fulfilled, and thoroughly documented in the pages of history — events foretold hundreds of years before their actual fulfillment in the lives of flesh and blood people, kings and their kingdoms who were actually used by God to make it all come true. In some cases, the rise and fall of kingdom after succeeding kingdom covering centuries of time can be seen in single OT chapters.

We usually think of prophecy as something that is fulfilled by God and God alone, and view ourselves as powerless beings swept along on a virtual tidal wave of God’s mighty will … and to an extent, I suppose that is true enough. We are unable to have much of a personal effect on the major prophecies that will effect end-time events in this world.

But what if I told you that YOU can BE the fulfillment of at least one major prophecy in God’s Word of life. It’s a prophecy that is of great importance to God, and one that is very important to the coming Kingdom of God. That prophecy is found in Isaiah 55.

For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it. (Is. 55:10-11)

At first glance, most of you might not think these verses are even “prophetic” as we usually think of “prophecy”, but I’ll just ask you to take a closer look. Think about one very major ingredient required to make up the Kingdom of God: PEOPLE! There will be people — people converted to the ways and thoughts of the God-Kingdom through the study of every aspect of God’s Holy word.

So I would challenge you to take a good look at what you are doing every time you pick up the Book that God sent into this world. Each and every day as you study its precepts, I challenge you to implement them into your daily walk with God, following the pattern and example of Jesus Christ, Himself “the Word of God.”

This “prophecy” of God says that His Word will “accomplish” His will, and “prosper” in what He sent it into the world to do. He sent His Word into this world to transform the lives of human beings … not “other” human beings, but YOU and ME … through study, prayer, meditation and interaction with God the Father, and God the Son.

“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.” (Is. 55:8-9)

We “think” of prophecy in terms of great earth-shaking, history-altering events, but God doesn’t think on the same plane as we do.    In His mind, the greatest fulfillment of prophecy might just have something to do with … YOU!

God’s Gift to Your Heart

In last week’s post, we talked about a phrase contained in a prayer by the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 3:17. His petition to God the Father was that God would grant the Ephesian brethren and brethren of all ages, among other things, “that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith.” We ended by asking the question, “Just what do you get when that prayer is answered?”, so let’s start to answer that in today’s post.

What Do We Get?

In Greek, the word “dwell” is katoikeo (G2730), which means “to house permanently, to reside (literally or figuratively), to inhabit”. The human heart, just in physical terms, is the one organ that is in intimate contact with every cell in your body every moment of every day. Life flows from it in the blood that carries nutrients and oxygenation, and removes metabolic wastes from every cell in the body.

God's Gift to Your Heart | BaptismForLife.wordpress.comWe’ve talked about Christ’s incredible ability to heal with a touch in recent posts — even to radiate healing power from His presence when people touched His garments in Luke 6 and Luke 8. We’ve talked about the Greek word dunamis (G1411) in past posts, which refers to God’s dynamic miracle-working power, but imagine the very being who performed those miracles taking up permanent residence in your heart by faith, and radiating that healing power to every cell of your body. So how much power could He generate from your heart when you request His healing power for the sick, for your own infirmities, or for His strength to help yourself and others in the midst of sore trials?

Power In Your Heart

Remember, this is the same Christ who has been given “all authority in heaven and on earth” by His Father and “power over all flesh” (Matt. 28:18; John 17:2), who was made our Lord, (our owner, master, and ruler) and Christ (Acts 2:36), who is “the Author and Finisher of our faith” (Heb. 12:2), and the “Shepherd and Guardian of our souls” (1 Pet. 2:25). On top of all of that, His Father appointed Him as “the Head over all things for the church” (Eph. 1:22).   Just imagine that being inhabiting  YOUR HEART!

In light of all of that, I’m sure we all would desire that God would surely answer that prayer by Paul in Eph. 3:17, and add our own requests for this great gift, that such a Being would indeed see fit to “dwell in our hearts by faith,” and be the power behind our prayers for the afflicted and persecuted people of this world.