Thursday, May 21, 2009

Rise up, Body of Christ!

I know a man who had a brain stem stroke. His cognitive mind was not damaged at all. His intelligence remains intact but he can’t make any of his limbs or his mouth or his bodily functions do what he wants them to do. It’s very difficult to understand what he is trying to communicate and most people can’t. My heart aches for him.

The Body of Christ in the earth today is like that quadriplegic man. We have the perfect mind of Christ but we are more often than not disconnected, seeing only our own selfish desires, hanging on to our own opinions and doctrines, frustrating His communication and his will coming to pass in the earth.

Sometimes when I’ve been through a lot of pain, both physical and/or emotional, I just want to leave this earth. Then the Lord reminds me what I’ve often told others - that when any one of us die, there will be that much less a container for Him in the earth.

Christians are the physical vehicle of Jesus Christ in the world today. He told his first twelve disciples on the night before He died that the bread He broke represented His Body broken for them – and us. They didn’t understand that til later. And I’m not sure that the majority of the Body of Christ today still understands.

That perfect body Jesus had as He walked the earth was broken, killed, dead, so that His spirit could come and live through many members of a Body so large and diverse that we cannot begin to understand in our imaginations.

In October, 2001, shortly after the attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center, my prayer partner and I were praying for this nation and she had a vision. She saw the Bride of Christ lying across the continental United States and she began saying “Rise up, rise up!” She described what she saw and I immediately felt a huge sorrow as He showed me that His Bride, His Body in the earth, was not held down by forces from the outside but was weakened and powerless because of things within: strife and criticisms between doctrinal thinkers and denominations, selfish pursuits of individuals and groups, apathy, and ignorance about who and what the New Creation truly is, and ignorance about our mission in the earth. It reminded me of something the Lord spoke to me back in 1984. “People are building their own kingdoms in My Name.”

For over seven years since that vision, every night my prayer partner and I have prayed for the Body of Christ, that we will rise up and recognize who we are and become completely submitted to the Head so He can work through us to bring “His Kingdom come, His will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

Recently I went through some very painful health issues and truly wished I could just go on to heaven. But the Lord reminded me “There are two of us in here. I need this part of my Body to work through.” So I threw off the selfishness and self pity and began fighting against the devil’s will for me, the one who comes to kill, steal and destroy, and made a choice to fight against him in cooperation with the one who comes that I may have life and have it in abundance. (John 10:10)

I believe that we are in the last times and that God has a huge work for His Body to do before He totally gives up on the world as it is. That same friend of mine had a vision a few years ago that still brings her to tears when she tells of it. The Christians were all together and she saw a streak off to her left. Then she realized that it was people going to hell, and they were going so fast and there were so many of them that it was just a blur.

We who are inhabited by the Spirit of the Lord are called to proclaim the good news that there is a living God who cares deeply about each person, who took their deserved punishments into His own Body through Jesus, the Savior, and was resurrected to live forever through those who die to self and receive His new life. I know very few people who take that calling seriously. I myself fail miserably in the area of evangelism. Forgive me, Lord.

Lord, forgive us for playing church instead of becoming the warriors You called us to be. Forgive us for disconnecting from you with our selfish desires and stubborn belief systems. Lord, make us one in Love and purpose so that we can rise up and BE Your Body in the earth to the glory of God and the furtherance of the Kingdom. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Helping God?

I had a shock a few months ago. There was no one to blame but myself: I told the Lord I wanted nothing to stand between Him and me; I asked Him to purge me of anything in me that was displeasing to Him. I asked Him to search my heart and show me any sin I needed to confess and receive forgiveness for.

And He did.

I went off to the cottage at Aldersgate Camp in March and while it was a needed and fruitful visit, it was not my most favorite time alone with Him. He began to show me how I had committed the same sin over and over most of my life and never even saw it as sin.

Have you ever heard the saying “God helps those who help themselves?” That “scripture” is found in First Delusions 1:19. It actually came from Benjamin Franklin, not from God at all.

What I saw when God exposed my heart to me was that not only had I helped myself most of my life, I also had attempted to help God. Now that doesn’t sound so bad until you put it up against true wisdom like “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding”(Prov. 3:5) or “I will say of the Lord: He is my refuge and my fortress, my God; in Him will I trust.” (Psalm 91:2) And especially “Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord, casting all your care on Him for He cares for you.” (I Peter 5:6)

Not only did the Lord show me how much I’d tried to help Him in the past during that week in the cottage, He has very faithfully shown me daily ever since then how much I’m still trying to help Him. It’s embarrassing.

You may try to help Him too.

If you are misunderstood and talked about, you may not wait for Him to clear up the situation but defend yourself to everyone around you instead of following Jesus “who when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judges righteously.” (I Peter 2:23)

When you have to speak to an audience or explain a situation, you may make notes and practice in front of a mirror instead of taking “no thought how or what thing you shall answer, or what you shall say: for the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what you ought to say.” (Luke 12:11,12)

You may fret and stew over your financial situation instead of following Jesus’ admonition to “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matt. 6:33)

When someone takes something that belongs to you, whether it’s a possession, a role in an organization, your reputation, or credit for something you did, you may believe it is the right thing to do to straighten out the situation instead of believing Jesus when He said “I say to you that you resist not evil, but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.” And you may not believe what Paul wrote when He quoted God “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath; for it is written ‘Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” (Romans 12:19)

Ouch! Are there any among us who have never taken things into our own hands? Any of us who trust the Lord perfectly with the things that are dearest to us?

I go back to Aldersgate shortly to spend time alone with the Lord again. I hope He doesn’t have to show me that I’ve continued to do these things in the past two months. But in case I have, I am so pleased that my favorite scripture is true, “If you confess your sins, He is faithful and just to forgive your sin and cleanse you of all unrighteousness.” (I John 1:9)

Want to pray with me?
Father, I come to you in Jesus Name, part of His Body in the earth. Thank you that you are purging us from all that is unpleasant to you, changing us from glory to glory by your Holy Spirit, as we look to Jesus. This day Lord, we choose to quit helping You with our lives, but instead we choose to make Jesus Lord over every detail of our lives. Help us to humble ourselves under your mighty hand so that you can exalt us in due time. Help us to look only to you as our Provider, Defender, Shepherd, Comforter, and Healer. So be it.