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

Showing posts with label Blood of Jesus. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Blood of Jesus. Show all posts

April 20, 2021

Deep Diving Biblical Precepts: Jesus Is The Bread of Life

I want to start a new series called "Deep Diving Biblical Precepts", in which I will be doing an occasional investigation into Biblical doctrines that we all are familiar with, but which we take for granted. In other words, I want to take a deeper look at common teachings that cross denominational lines, and that are theologically accepted as valid principles, but which we may only have a surface understanding. The first of these topics will be the understanding that Jesus is our Bread of Life.

There is a fascinating passage in John 6:22-59 where Jesus is approached by the crowd after feeding about 5,000 men (not counting the women and children that accompanied them) with five barley loaves and two fish. The people were astonished by the miracle they had witnessed, and Jesus perceived that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king (John 6:15), so He withdrew to the nearby mountain. The crowd then saw the disciples depart in a boat to cross the Sea of Galilee to Capernaum on the other side. The next day they were mystified by another miracle they struggled to understand -- There had been only one boat at the shore when the disciples departed and Jesus had not been with them, but yet here He was in Capernaum with them [they did not know that He had walked on water the evening before to join them in the boat]. So, they question Jesus... "Rabbi, when did you come here?"

Jesus reprimands them because they were more concerned about mundane things and didn't recognize the miracles that came from the Father, and were only seeking Him because they had all been fed from the few barley loaves. Jesus tries to explain that they are more concerned about doing works for food that perishes than they are about eating the food that endures to give them eternal life. Jesus says the only work they need to do is believe in the One that the Father has sent, referring to Himself. So the crowd challenges Him... what miracle [sign] do you do that we can visibly see, and then we'll believe. And they made it clear that they were seeking a miracle like the manna from Heaven that appeared by the hand of Moses. 

Jesus tells them that it was not Moses that did the work, but God who provided what they needed to survive. He reminded them that their ancestors had eaten the manna in the desert and they died. And here is where I gained a new understanding of the "manna miracle", as we will call it .... In reality the manna was provided by God sending the dew [or more likely rain] from the 1st heaven (our skies and atmosphere) to cause the manna to grow on the ground in the wilderness. We find this scenario in Exodus 16:14-15 where Moses instructs them to gather it because "this is the bread which the Lord has given you to eat". God was the Giver through natural means. But this time Jesus was giving them the true bread from heaven [the 3rd Heaven where God resided and Jesus had come from] that they might never hunger or thirst again. 

I believe this passage has been so misunderstood in our life time! The manna the Israelites received in the wilderness was physical bread. It was like coriander seed and they ground it in their mills, or beat it in a mortar, and baked it in pans, and made cakes of it (Numbers 11:7-8). It had a "shelf life"; it molded and could not be counted on to sustain their flesh and bodies after a period of time. But Jesus is true bread; a spiritual bread that is everlasting and sustains their souls and spirits. He is the bread of LIFE! He states in verse 51, "I am the living bread that came down from Heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh."

Of course, this confuses them again ... "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" So Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink." Then He qualifies exactly what He means in this strange discourse by repeating what He had said earlier, "This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread the fathers ate, and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever."

First of all, any serious student of the Bible understands that if something is restated in a passage, then it is an important concept that God wants us to comprehend. When Jesus repeats that He is the bread that came down from heaven, [and He is not like the bread the Israelites ate in the wilderness], He is making a distinction between being fed spiritually and being fed physically. Also, there is the principle that the physical bread can't keep you from dying, while the spiritual bread gives you eternal life. Furthermore, I know that there are some denominations that teach that when we take communion, we are literally eating Jesus's flesh and drinking His literal blood. But this passage is not to be read as a literal translation at all. Instead, His words symbolize His action of sacrificing His flesh and blood for us.

 Again, He is making reference to His flesh as true food in a spiritual sense, and His blood as true drink; again referring to that which feeds us spiritually. In no way, does He suggest that we are to physically eat His actual flesh or blood. That would make us zombies and vampires! Instead the sacrifice of His flesh and blood, which resulted in His death on the Cross, made way for us to restore our relationship with our Heavenly Father -- something all mankind had been starving and thirsting for since Adam's fall in the Garden! That's the essence of verse 35: He is the Bread of Life! Whoever comes to Him will not hunger, and whoever believes in Him shall never thirst -- our eternal life will be a spiritual one, sustained by His power in us.

Did you notice the two different sets of circumstances in that last sentence? You must come to Him and you must believe in Him. It is the only way to satisfy what your soul and spirit hunger and thirst for. Come, eat of the Bread of Life and partake of the Living Water. It is eternal and nothing will ever taste as sweet!

Matthew 5:6    Blessed [joyful, nourished by God’s goodness] are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness [those who actively seek right standing with God], for they will be [completely] satisfied.

November 14, 2020

Lord, Let It Begin With Me!


This nation and its people find themselves in a season of acrimony; marriages, families, and friends find themselves at deep odds with each other over differing political and cultural views and hastily spoken words uttered out of anger and antagonism. The division is at a level that I have never seen before. And I believe that we need the Spirit of the Lord in the midst of it all. I know that I do. You see, I am writing this post as a personal testimony of how the Enemy can use your sin to cause division and chaos in families. It is my testimony of humbling myself to allow Jesus to heal family discord that I caused. And I am writing it now -- particularly now in this season of our nation's history -- so that you will not fall into the trap that I did, and you will be able to find your way out of the pit by the grace of Jesus Christ. It begins by me being honest.

I have been writing this blog for nine years and I have never been afraid to stand and express my opinion, especially when it is something I feel strongly about. In fact, it was revealed to me that my boldness is what most threatens the devil. And if you have been with me from the beginning, you have seen [through my writing] the journey that the Lord is taking me on. You have been a witness to my newfound awareness that something vitally important was happening in our country and change was on the way -- profound changes that my spirit was not comfortable with. And you have seen my faith change and morph from being consumed by the world and how it was affecting me, to discovering the Kingdom of God on earth and my identity and purpose in it. I have tried to be less self-centered and more Jesus-focused. That is my current priority.

But seven years ago, in 2013, I wrote an article expressing my opinion on the state of government involvement in education and how I felt it had changed the character of our nation and its youth. And I wrote boldly and from my soul how I had seen it affect my family. And that fearless, thoughtless, and self-absorbed conviction opened a spiritual door these seven years later to offend my family. I wasn't writing the article to intentionally hurt them or cause anyone pain; I was using something personal to illustrate the point I wanted to make. It is sometimes easier to speak to an unseen audience by using details that have personal significance to you. But it was wrong. And now, all these years later, when that article found its way into the hands of my family members, I was faced with my sin. I had hurt people that I dearly loved, and the Enemy was having a field day!

I was immediately embarrassed and ashamed. There was no denying it. I could easily see what I could not in 2013 -- I had crossed a line then, and now I was going to have to pay the price. The Enemy immediately tried to get me to rationalize my actions. I could justify my decision to write as I did by this or that reasoning. And I probably would have done that seven years ago. But I have spent these intervening years growing with Jesus and I knew what He wanted me to do. I wrote to each of the offended members of my family and apologized for my rash words and told them I was sorry. I let them know that I had deleted the posts. Then I acknowledged the pain I had caused them, and humbly asked for their forgiveness. I knew I didn't have a right to expect it; I didn't deserve it, and they certainly didn't need to give it. But I knew it was the only way those spiritual doors I had recklessly opened could be closed.

And then my spirit bowed at the feet of Jesus and confessed my sin, repented and asked for His forgiveness. As sorrowful as I was over the pain I caused my family, I wept for having sinned against my Lord and disappointing Him. I knew in my spirit that He forgave me, but the Enemy continued to attack my soul through the night, and the spiritual battle was on!  Satan told me the damage had been done; and somehow the fact that the words had been written years ago magnified their effect. I needed to prepare myself for permanent rejection. He also whispered that this was the price that my pride, arrogance, and self-righteousness had cost me. My family would now look upon me as a hypocritical Christian. Then my spirit would counter with thoughts such as Jesus's forgiveness was not dependent on my family's forgiveness. My sins were forgiven and covered by the blood of Jesus. And then I would recall prophetic minister Graham Cooke's own testimony of Jesus demanding that he, Graham, give Him, Jesus, back His stuff! When Graham continued to question, "What stuff, Lord?" Jesus responded, "I died on the Cross to take away your sins, and you keep hanging on to them!" 

In the morning, I knew I had done all I was asked by the Lord to make things right... the most important things were to humbly admit my sin, express my regret over the pain, and then ask to receive their forgiveness. It was time to leave it in the hands of Jesus. And as I prepared to begin a Bible study, I received two texts just seconds apart. Both thanked me for reaching out and unselfishly blessed me with their forgiveness, recognizing that it was a long time ago and families could be messy. There were more kind words but they made a point of extending their love and a desire to put it in the past. Oh, what a merciful and gracious God we serve! If we confess our sins, He is [truly] faithful and just to forgive us those sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness!

I then had a picture in my spirit -- Satan, as my Accuser, standing in the Court in Heaven, accusing me of slander and maliciousness. But there was Jesus, as my Advocate, showing the heavenly documents that testified of my repentance, and that forgiveness was asked for and received. Case closed! I saw the article on that date in 2013, first covered by His blood, and then cut out of my earthly timeline. It no longer existed nor had any power in the spiritual realm. But my testimony is not finished. There is still one family member that I have not heard from. And that forgiveness will be harder to come by. I will not force it. And so I pray that the Blood of Jesus will be applied to her heart so that my words can no longer cause any pain or anger, and she can be set free of the ways the Enemy is trying to destroy our relationship.

Because you see, I can now discern just how this spiritual attack has come into play. My witness for the Kingdom of God is strong, committed, and persistent. There are no open doors in the present. But the Enemy was able to go back seven years and find something that he could use to throw a wrench in my work for the Kingdom. He wanted to weaken my spirit with righteous anger [on the part of my family]; self-doubt and self-condemnation against myself; and a lack of faith that I was not fit for the ministry to which the Lord has anointed me. If he could destroy me with those tactics, then perhaps I would have nothing left to give to ministry and I would begin doubting [and surrendering] my power and authority. But the power of Forgiveness has healed wounds -- both the wounds I caused and the self-inflicted wounds I received for my actions.

So, I write this to you today, not to receive a pat on the back for "doing the right thing", but to warn you that the Enemy is like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. And he has sowed such chaos and bedlam in our hearts and homes, and on our streets across the land. Our nerves are frazzled; we are prone to anxiousness and anger; and violence is on the increase. I'm going to be honest, there is real evil waiting to take advantage of our humanness. So, please, learn from my mistake. Do not be naive and think that everything is good today, when as you can see from my testimony, the devil is able to go back in time and pull up something in the past to instigate upheaval and turmoil in your life. He will use anything that gives him legal authority to accuse you; whether it was intentional on your part, or not. Our land is ripe for division! Do not play into his hands! Our sinful choices create wounds and scars, and Satan won't miss any opportunity he can take to rip open the fabric of your family, your marriage, your business, or our beloved country. 

But take it from me -- Forgiveness covers a multitude of sins with the Blood of Jesus! If you sin against someone, go immediately to them and ask for their forgiveness. And if you are sinned against, don't waste a moment in anger, but instead, extend your forgiveness to the one who trespassed against you. Through the compassion and mercy of the Lord, our sins can be pardoned and blotted out. We don't have to give in to the discord and disunity that is so prevalent in our discourse today. I am a living witness of the power of God's love for us when we are able to ask for forgiveness and to give it. Learn from me -- do not give pride or arrogance a foothold in your heart. Walk in humility before others, exhibiting the plentiful redemption you have received from the Lord. And join me in praying, Father, let there be peace on earth and in our Homeland, and let it begin with me. Amen! 

Psalm 51:3-4, 9-10    For I am conscious of my transgressions and I acknowledge them; my sin is always before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned and done that which is evil in Your sight ... Hide Your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right and steadfast spirit within me.