A Modern Woman's Perspective On The Kingdom of God on Earth

Showing posts with label Baptism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Baptism. Show all posts

August 12, 2019

Einstein, The Cross, And Our Power To Heal

    Okay, it may take me a while to set up the concept of this post's title, so I hope you will be patient with me. This post comes from a fascinating study I did based on a teaching by Katie Sousa, an anointed Prison Minister who went from a life of crime herself, to being an outspoken advocate for Jesus. She took me on a wild ride from Albert Einstein's theory of space-time continuum, to Jesus's healing hand, to the power of the Cross. So, I hope I can explain how all this connects, using Scripture and interpreting the meaning of specific words and verses in the Bible. Here goes...
     I know that people [including Christians] often have a hard time understanding how our Inner Healing Ministry really works. How can we ask Jesus to be in the Spirit and be present at our table in the here and now, and He can still heal wounds and hurts that happened in the past? That's where the physicist Albert Einstein comes in.
     Einstein created a theory of special relativity which says there is a fundamental link between space and time. The universe can be viewed as having three space dimensions — up/down, left/right, forward/backward — and one time dimension. This 4-dimensional space is referred to as the space-time continuum, which means space and time can exist uninterrupted. Furthermore, this theory says that this continuum is like a fabric or curtain that stretches, bends, and warps. NASA proved this theory with a project called Gravity Probe B, which proved that the earth is actually bending and stretching the fabric of space. So, it was concluded that space and time are like a fabric that can actually stretch and bend.
     And guess what? It was all created by Jesus! This is the Amplified version of Hebrews 1:1-2, which says, God, having spoken to the fathers long ago in [the voices and writings of] the prophets in many separate revelations [each of which set forth a portion of the truth], and in many ways, has in these last days spoken [with finality] to us in [the person of One who is by His character and nature] His Son [namely Jesus], whom He appointed heir and lawful owner of all things, through whom also He created the universe [that is, the universe as a space-time-matter continuum]
     But I want you to see an expanded understanding of this truth, which appears in the Amplified Classic version: But in the last of these days He has spoken to us in [the person of a] Son, Whom He appointed Heir and lawful Owner of all things, also by and through Whom He created the worlds and the reaches of space and the ages of time [He made, produced, built, operated, and arranged them in order]. 
     So, although Einstein may have discovered this theory of time and space, it was our Lord who created them and how they work together. And I hope to show you how He uses His creation to "heal the broken-hearted and set the captives free". 
     In fact, Isaiah 40:22 proves both Einstein's theory and NASA's experiment. It reads: It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them like a tent to dwell in. What is a curtain made of? Fabric! And what does the fabric of space and time [which Jesus created] do? It stretches and bends and warps... as Jesus made it to do, and as He operates and arranges it [according to Hebrews 1:1-3].
     What does all this have to do with our Inner Healing Ministry? It explains how Jesus is able to heal past hurts in the present; and it explains how we are able to travel in the spirit to receive counsel from the throne room of God. Stick with me. I'm still building the premise.
     Can we agree that where God lives in the third Heaven everything exists -- all of our resources, all of our healings, all the angels and it includes all the reaches of space and the ages of time? [Again, see Hebrews 1:2 above].  So, if you lived in the eternal realm with God and Jesus, and you wanted to go to France tonight to witness the French Revolution in 1789, you could because all the ages of time are contained in Heaven. 
     We can't do that here on earth in our fleshly bodies because we are restricted by time and space. Our time is linear and only moves forward at a steady pace. And moving any distance [in space] is restricted to the time it takes you to get there. So, isn't it logical that if we want to gain access to time and space we need to get to the eternal realm of Heaven? 
     This is where the Cross comes in. The fabric of time and space is used to divide us and keep us from getting to Heaven. But Jesus made an opening in that curtain of fabric [of time and space] for us to get there. And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up His spirit. And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. Notice it split from top to bottom -- from Heaven to earth. He has given us access! Now, I know there are some Christians who think this can't be achieved until we die and go to Heaven. But Ephesians 2:6 tells us, And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus;  and Philippians 3:20 tells us that our citizenship is in Heaven. When Jesus died and was resurrected, He tore that curtain between Heaven and Earth and we have access to all the reaches of space and all the ages of time NOW!
     So how does this relate to our power and authority to heal others who are tormented by past wounds and hurts? Well, it was at His baptism that Jesus first ripped through the fabric of time and space. He went forward in time to get all the power [from the Cross and His resurrection] that He would need to do His three years of Ministry while on earth. Scripture even tells us that "the Heavens were opened to Him" -- where all the power of God resides (Matthew 3:16). Jesus had to have access to that power from the eternal realm before He started ministering to people to heal them from past events that were wounding them and keeping them in bondage to the Enemy. And Scripture uses a particular word to describe this entire concept of stretching and bending time and space to return to the origin [or cause] of the suffering. It is the Greek word EKTEINO.
     The word ek means "from [or out of] place, time, or cause". In other words the origin or beginning of a situation. And teino means "to stretch". Consider the story of Jesus healing the man with the withered hand, which appears in several of the Gospel accounts. It reads, And He said to the man with the withered hand, “Come here.” And He said to them [the Pharisees], “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?” But they were silent. And He looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man, Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was restored. The word for "stretch out" is Ekteino! Jesus took the man to the origin [time] when his hand got withered, and to the place it got withered, and the cause [or reason] it got withered and pulled it out at the root (stretched time and space to heal him in the present). And the hand was restored! He didn't change the order of the events, but He changed the consequences or the result of the events.
     Now consider the story of the Leper who was healed: When He came down from the mountain, great crowds followed Him. And behold, a leper came to Him and knelt before Him, saying, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” And Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed (Matthew 8:1-3). Again, Jesus dealt with the time, place, and cause (ek) that the unclean spirit came into the man, and then pulled it out by the root (stretched time and space - teino) to restore the leper to health. 
     There are other examples, too. In Luke 4:31-37, Jesus heals a man with an unclean demon, rebuking the demon and telling it to "Come out!" That's the same word, Ekteino. And all this demonstrates what we do in our Inner Healing Ministry. We go back to the origin [a memory, or an event] in which the wound was inflicted upon the Beloved -- to the time, the place, and the cause, and then we invite Jesus to appear in that memory and pull out the hurt and the wound at the root. He's able to do that because he can bend and stretch time and space to be both in the past and then appear to the Beloved in the present at our table. 
     But here's the Good News for all of us --- when we are baptized, the power of the Cross is released when we go down in the water (and die with Christ); and the power of the Resurrection is released when we come out of the water, releasing power and authority and dominion to us! And we have the ability to stretch time and space when we go in the spirit to the throne of God and appeal for compassion and mercy and grace to help in our time of need. We have the power to experience Ekteino for others [when we stretch time and space to assist Jesus in freeing them from the bondages of their past]; and we have the ability and power to introduce Ekteino to them and to ourselves, when we go into the future and lay hold of our promises and bring them into the now! 
     Nothing is impossible for our Lord! We are not limited by time or space when we recognize that we are spirit beings who have access to all the reaches of space and the ages of time. Isn't it amazing? We serve a Mighty God! 

Psalm 31:14-15    But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, “You are my God.” My times are in your hand; rescue me from the hand of my enemies and from my persecutors!  

August 24, 2018

The Biblical Case For Baptism

     This might seem like an elementary subject to be discussing in the light of the deeper topics I've covered lately, but you might be surprised to know that there is much conflict among the Body of Christ when it comes to discussing this centuries-old Christian tradition.
     As you can imagine, there are quite a few different opinions about the tradition of Baptism across denominational lines. Does it matter if you're sprinkled instead of fully immersed? Is Infant Baptism acceptable to God, or do you have to be of the age of consent to participate? Does it need to be witnessed by the congregation, or can it be done privately, and one still "qualifies" according to Church doctrine? There are a lot of man-made views and judgments regarding Baptism, and I thought it might be a good idea to see what the Bible says about this important tradition. In doing so, I found a very simple 5-minute video on YouTube that laid out what they called "5 Basic Facts About Baptism". And I was pleased to see that the Bible was the source of their information, rather than any particular Church doctrine. So I would like to share those points with you, and then add my own personal perspective of this Biblical tradition.
1. It's God's idea. Matthew 3:13 tells us that Jesus came to the Jordan River "to be baptized by John". Remember, Jesus didn't do anything that His Father in Heaven didn't tell Him to do. So, obviously, it was God's idea that Jesus be baptized. Furthermore, Jesus commands His own disciples, Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. 
     2. Baptism [by itself] doesn't save anyone. All Christians know that Salvation is by grace through faith in Christ; trusting that what Jesus did on the Cross saves us from the eternal wrath of God that is due us because of our sin. The act of baptism, itself, saves no one. Now, I feel at this point, I need to comment on verses like 1 Peter 3:21, which says, Baptism, which corresponds to this [Noah and family being brought safely through the flood], now saves you... 
     I will say it again -- the act of baptism, itself, doesn't save you. Baptism is a public representation of that which actually saves the believer—one’s personal faith in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus the Messiah. When it comes to 1 Peter 3:21, it is important that we keep in mind that for the Early Church, the confession of faith in Jesus Christ and baptism were never separated. They generally happened at the same time. The act of water immersion went hand-in-hand with repentance and faith, simultaneously. They didn't wait to be baptized. When Philip shared the Good News of Jesus Christ with the Ethiopian eunuch as they were going along the road, what was the eunuch's response? “See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?”" I believe it is important that we consider the teaching of the Bible regarding this verse within the context of the entire passage in 1 Peter 3:18-22, which speaks of Christ's victory. When you read the entire passage you are able to see that the Early Church understood there was a special moment where (faith + repentance + baptism) was the saving moment - not because of the water, but because of how it functioned as an appeal to God through the resurrection of Jesus. It was an all-encompassing act of declaration of faith in Jesus.
     3. Baptism is an act of obedience.  On a very simple level, Jesus commanded it of His disciples, so we should do it. In many ways, it's the first act of obedience we can do as we begin this journey of righteousness with Him. As we progress in our salvation and mature spiritually, there will be more opportunities to obey Him. At the point of our declaration of faith, it is both a practical and personal way to honor Him.
     4. Baptism identifies us with Christ and the Body of Christ (the Church). This is a very important part of the significance of Baptism for me. Because of its importance to the Early Church, all those who have chosen to follow Jesus are now united by this one act. Every person who has ever put their faith in God in the history of the world is a part of this family of Christ. We are also able to identify with Christ by the symbolism of Baptism. In the act of immersion, our old self dies with Him, and we rise with Him to glorify the Father. But there's another important aspect to identifying with Christ in Baptism ... it is a declaration to the spiritual realm which side we're on; that we have chosen Christ over the Enemy; that we belong to Jesus; that we are now in the spiritual army of God. That makes quite an impact in the spiritual realm!
     5.  Baptism is a symbol of new life.  Very simply, when you make the decision for Christ and are baptized, you are leaving your old life of sin behind, and being born into a new life that will be empowered by the Holy Spirit as you grow to resemble Christ. 

     The reason I wanted to expound on not only the Biblical case for Baptism, but its importance in our faith walk, is that Mark and I had the honor of hosting two baptisms this week in the shade of our big oak tree. Together, with other faithful Christians, we have purchased a portable baptism pool so that we all have the ability to follow Jesus's command to "make disciples and baptize". Two families came to our property where we witnessed fathers baptizing their daughters. And I will tell you that there is nothing more moving than to hear a father ask his daughter if she receives Jesus as her Savior, to hear the response, and then to hear that father tell his daughter of his love for her; his desire that she walk with Jesus all her life; to express his pride and joy in her; and of his hopes for her future. As each daughter went down in the water, dying with Christ and rising with Him to a new life, their faces were radiant! And I knew in my spirit that their Heavenly Father was rejoicing over them, just as their earthly father had.
     Somehow, it seemed more intimate and personal than my own baptism. And I loved that these families wanted it that way -- that they didn't feel they had to follow a particular denominational ritual of Baptism. And I know these baptisms were recognized in Heaven as just as valid as if they had been performed in a Church baptistry by a Pastor. In fact, they probably resemble more closely the baptisms Jesus's disciples performed than do our modern versions in Church fonts.
     In the end, Baptism is a personal decision for everyone. Whether you do it in your church building, a bathtub, a swimming pool, or your neighbor's stock tank, it doesn't matter. Jesus didn't command anything about the place... He just said to do it as part of the requirement to enter the Kingdom of God. I think it is apparent that Jesus associated it with a profession of faith, and that's how the Early Church operated. So, pray about it ... look at what the Word of God says about Baptism ... and approach it as an obedient declaration of your new identity in Christ. I promise you, when you come up out of that water, you will never be the same again!

John 3:5     Jesus replied, I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit.