Metaphors of the Church

Jesus gives us several metaphors to help us understand what the church should be like. The ‘church’ is not a religious building, or a specific denomination. The church is every person who accepts Jesus as their savior. Here are five metaphors to help us understand His plan for the church:


God is the master architect

God is the master architect

1. The Church is like a Building
This means: We need support.

If you are in the ‘church’, you are a part of the building, and helping build the building. If you are a pillar, then you need someone who is concrete to support you; you need someone as a roof, for you to hold up. We need people to support us, and people who we can support. A building is not made of only one kind of material. We need each other; we cannot do it by ourselves.

– Eph. 2:19-22 – Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.

– 1 Cor. 3:9-10,16 – You are God’s building. Because of God’s grace to me, I have laid the foundation (Jesus) like an expert builder. Now others are building on it… Don’t you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in you?


We are the body of Christ

We are the body of Christ

2. The Church is like a Body
This means: We need to grow.

When a body is healthy, it grows and develops. It needs many parts to be able to function. If you plucked out the eye, it couldn’t do its job. It still holds the potential to do it’s job, but it is worthless unless it is attached to the body. Parts must be connected to use their potential, help, and grow. Your potential cannot be realized by you. You need others to bring out your full potential. When we are separated from the body, we die.

– Rom. 12:4-6 – For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.

– Eph. 4:16 – From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

– Eph. 4:11-12 – So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

– Phil. 1:6 – For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.


Christ is the shepherd of the flock

Christ is the shepherd of the flock

3. The Church is like a Flock
This means: We need protection.

The church is meant to protect you and for you to protect those in it. You are not meant to be alone. You can be around a lot of people, but if you aren’t being truthful, and transparent, you will feel utterly alone. You are meant to be able to share your life with others and let them speak into you. You need others to teach you, help you spot enemies, and help you trample the enemies. The enemies plan is to find those who are separated from the flock, and those who are weak. You cannot stay safe on your own.

– Acts 20:28-29 – Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock.

-Acts 17:26-27 – he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.

– 1 Peter 5:2 – Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care

– Jer. 3:15 – I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will lead you with knowledge and understanding.

– Luke 12:31-33 – But seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you. “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom. “Sell your possessions and give to charity; make yourselves money belts which do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven


We are the family of God

We are the family of God

4. The Church is like a Family
This means: We need to be loved unconditionally

God loves us unconditionally. We are saved by His grace, not by works. Have you had a family member you didn’t get along with? We might not get along, but we aren’t supposed to kick each other out of the family. We need to be able to see others through our Fathers heart. The more we understand God’s heart, the more we will be able to show His love to others. We are adopted by God, into His family, and joined together by the blood of Jesus. A lot of times, your church family sticks closer to you than your physical family. These people know the struggle and have wisdom from God to share with you. We need more spiritual sons, daughters, mothers, and fathers. Mentors rise up!

– Eph. 2:19 – you are no longer foreigners and strangersbut fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household

– Prov. 18:24 – … there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

– Eph. 1:5 – he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will

– Rom. 8:14,29 – For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God… For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.

– Gal. 3:26 – So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith

– 1 John 4:20-21 – If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.


We are the bride of Christ

We are the bride of Christ

5. The Church is like a Bride
This means: We need to be One with Christ.

We need to leave everything to be joined to Christ, our husband. We need to get rid of every hinderance, and lay down every weight. We can be honest to our husband, because He loves us unconditionally. He takes His vow seriously, and He does not believe in divorce. In Jewish culture they would actually slaughter a bull and the couple getting married would walk between the parts and say, ‘may I be like this bull if I do not keep my vow.’ Christ walked through the parts for us (Gen.15:9-18). We are in a covenant relationship with Him and He will never leave us or forsake us (Deut.31:6).

– Gen. 2:24 –  a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.

– Eph. 5:31-32 – “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mysterybut I am talking about Christ and the church.

– 1 Cor. 6:17 – But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him.

– Rom. 8:9 – You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ

– Ruth 1:15-16 – Then she said, “Behold, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and her gods; return after your sister-in-law.” But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God.

– Matt. 19:29 – And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.


Worship: Brother, by NeedToBreathe

Brother let me be your shelter
I’ll never leave you all alone
I can be the one you call
When you’re feelin’ low
Brother let me be your fortress
When the night winds are driving on
Be the one to light the way
Bring you home

Prayer: Lord, join your body together, so we can be the holy temple of God. Make your bride spotless, and show your people how to live unified in love. Keep our eyes set on your return, for you left for Spirit as a wedding pledge to us. Let us keep showing off this great gift of your Spirit, as one would a wedding ring. Let us stay about your work awaiting your return to take us to the home you have prepared for us in your Father’s kingdom. May your people (family) be our people; teach us to love them. May we build up the your people (building) with words of encouragement. May we protect your people (flock) and share the truth about our sufferings, trials, and victories. Help us grow, develop, and reach our full potential. Bring a new level of unity and love to us in Jesus name, Amen.


For more on this topic you can listen to Pastor Chris Hodges:
Be Transparent – How to Live Through A Bad Day – Highlands Series

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Lord of the Dance


God didn’t create our bodies to respond to music so we would have something else to fight. He made us want to dance, because He wanted us to be joyous! I’m not talking about bumping and grinding, that is a perversion of what God created. The purpose of that dance is to sexually seduce. Footloose did get the Bible verses right though. The true, intended, and holy purpose of dance is to praise God radically and unabashedly! Everything is aligned with its intended purpose when it is used as a tool to love God. Dance is to 1)celebrate what He has done for you, and to 2)ask Him for what you need; it’s 3)to lift moral, because a merry heart brings life and health to the body. Dance is can teach people just as much as song or lecture. Dance is biblical, and maybe if dancing were still in every church we wouldn’t be missing an entire generation of young kids and teenagers; maybe people would wake up excited to go to church, stay longer, build community better, and leave happier

– 1 Cor. 14:26 – What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up.

Choreographed dance, theatre, and the arts can show us who God is just as much as anything else. Every person should be able to show what God has given them. Dance doesn’t even have to be choreographed to happen in the church. Everyone should be able to let loose in praise, using their bodies to celebrate the God who gave it to them.

– Ps. 149:3 – Let Israel be glad in his Maker; let the children of Zion rejoice in their King! Let them praise his name with dancing, making melody to him with tambourine and lyre!

– Eccl. 4:3 -A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance

– Ps. 30:11 – You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent.

– Jer. 31:13 – Then shall the young women rejoice in the dance, and the young men and the old shall be merry. I will turn their mourning into joy; I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow.

– 2 Sam. 6:14 – And David danced before the Lord with all his might

David celebrated God's presence with dance

David celebrated God’s presence with dance

David’s wife confronted him and tried to shame him, or say it was ungodly, and he responded with:

I will celebrate before the Lord. I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes.

When God delivered Israel from Egypt:

– Ex. 15:20 – Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a tambourine in her hand, and all the women went out after her with tambourines and dancing.

– Zeph. 3:17 – The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.

– Ps. 150:4 – Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe!

We celebrate marriage, and festivities, with dancing, and God wants us to do that with Him. Celebrate the God who gave you the spouse, the job, the raise, the home, the harvest, the souls. Celebrate him everyday, even when it seems like you aren’t winning. Paul & Silas praise him from prison chains and the praise set them free emotionally first, then also physically.

– Rev. 19:6-7 – And I heard something that sounded like a huge crowd, like rushing water and powerful thunder. They said, “Hallelujah! The Lord our God, the Almighty, exercised his royal power! Let us rejoice and celebrate, and give him the glory, for the wedding day of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.

Rushing water are shouts of excitement and the powerful thunder is dance? STOMP! How are you going to crush the serpents head without a stomp and a dance? Walking gets tiring, but waltzing to the destination give you something different. Joy takes you further. You don’t even realize you’re tired when you are having fun. I don’t know about you, but I’m going to be dancing on my wedding day to the Lamb, and I’m gonna go’head and practice now! At church, on Friday, I grabbed up a flag, went to the back of the church, and danced. Jehovah Nissi, is my God; my Banner and my Victory.


Worship:
Stomp, by Kirk Franklin
Dance, by Jesus Culture
Shackles (Praise You), by Mary Mary


Paul & Silas sing in the prison, then an angel opens breaks off their chains

Paul & Silas sing in the prison, then an angel opens breaks off their chains

Prayer: Lord of the dance, bring back the dance! You are Lord of Lords; You are the king of celebration and joy. Help us see you as you are, break every chain of religion, and loose your people to praise you with all their mind, heart, soul, and strength (Deut.6:5); you tell us that praise looses your people from bondage. Use dance to heal, deliver, and set free every mind and body. Tear down every man made law that stands in the way of your laws. Fear of man leave, and fear of God return in Jesus name. Bring joy back to the church as we realign ourselves to your ways and see who you truly are. We may feel humiliated in our own eyes as we dance, but you exalt those who are unashamed to praise you with all their strength! You made joy to be contagious, so raise up people to dance without shame and show your people that there is freedom in You; let all those who are free from the chains of sin and death rejoice!

As our country continues to talk about black&white, slave&free issues, cause your church to lead. Where blacks were once slaves, and white free, today the tables have turned. Your beloved black church is living in freedom, and your white people are slaves to religion and man-made law. Cause a war to rise up, and people to fight for the freedom of every person. Bring your people together. Send out those who will stand for freedom, justice, equality, and tear down the lies, chains, and man-made law that hold us in bondage and keep us from praising God with every fiber of our being. No longer shall it be shameful to say ‘you dance like a white person.’ Let is now be said with the meaning, ‘Wow, your dancing has put us to shame!’ Raise up whites who are radical in praise! Bring the spirit of Africa to us. No matter if we have food, clothing, or water, make us joyful with what we have. Tear down this idol of reliance on wealth and possession, and cause us to take joy in You. When the foot taps, let the body move, and tear down this idea that skill is required. Let the people dance without care of man or level of learning.


My friend is over in Zambia, Africa changing lives and building water wells. The people there know how to celebrate God’s gift of water. Lord, bless us with this Spirit just as you blessed them with water:

You can donate at Water282.org

Free Will to Homosexuals!

I would like to repent on behalf of Christians, to every gay and lesbian:

Christians sinned when they pointed out and exalted one sin above another. God says sin is sin, and every Christian who hurt you has sinned. I’m sorry for the pain it caused you. May God forgive us for hurting you, and for disobeying Him. God called us to love (respect) you, and Christians failed to do that for way too long. I would like to repent on the behalf of believers for not showing love to you in the same way God showed love to us. Gossip, pointing fingers, judging others, and singling out is sin. God asked us not to give into sin; we stood against homosexuality as He asked, but not in the way that He asked. We failed to keep from judging, harassing, name calling, and disrespecting you. I’m sorry for the pain and shame this has caused you. I hope God shows you how much you mean to Him. I hope you see that no person is without sin, especially Christians. Christianity was never meant to be based on human efforts to get to God. We cannot save ourselves by obeying the law, because we all have sin. Christianity was meant to be falling in love with God, because God loved us while we were still sinners, and nothing we do can separate us from His love. Jesus saved us while we were still sinners; He didn’t come down here a condemn us all, like Christians have done to you. Christians did a terrible job of portraying God, who is Love, to you. They did not portray Love at all. It is by grace that God saved us, not by our own ability to follow a whole heap of laws. You do not have to earn God’s Love! He loves you as you are. I ask God to bless you, heal your heart, and bring true Love to you by revealing His true nature – not this sick portrait that Christians have painted for you. God wants you to have a choice. He outlined the choices for us – the blessings and repercussions for each choice – but  He asks us to choose life because He wants us to have the best life possible. Regardless, He never takes away our right to choose for ourselves. He will never disrespect you by forcing you to do anything. May you live in freedom, make your own choices, and see which path leads to Life and Love; and may you be healed from every pain that Christians caused. I am truly sorry for not loving you in the correct manner.

Turning to Love for you,
a christian


I would like to challenge every Christian reading this to follow the way of Love, and repentance. We are the BODY of Christ; we are one. We are responsible for the actions of each person who calls themselves a follower. Please share this, and let’s take on the responsibility of our actions in true repentance before God and man.


1John1:8-10-to say we have no sin is to deceive ourselves. Confess your sin and He is faithful to forgive; James5:16-confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed; James2:10-whoever breaks one law is guilty of breaking it all; Eph.2:8-saved by grace, not by works; Rom.12:5-we are the body of Christ and each member belongs to the others; Gen.2:9-God put 2 trees in Eden; Deut.30:19-I have given you a choice, now choose life and blessings; 1 Cor.6:9-11-homosexuality is sin; Rom.1:26-27-gay and lesbian is wrong and harms your own body; Lev.20:13-homosexuality is sin and harms your own body; Rom.3:23-all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God; John8:7-11-let the one without sin be the first to throw the stone. They all left. Jesus said I don’t condemn you either, now go leave your life of sin; Rom.8:1-no condemnation for those in Christ; 1Cor.13:4,5,7-Love is kind. Love does not dishonor (disrespect) others. Love protects; 1John4:8-Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love

If a christian did not love you, they did not know God at all; but you can know God right now. He loves you and cares deeply for you. He does not want you to feel condemned. Every person has sinned, and ever person can come to God:

Rom. 8:5 – But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

The Body of Christ

Some denominations think the body of Christ is composed of only their sect. What is the body of Christ? Why call us His body? What does it mean?

Let me paint a picture for you of the body of Christ:
– Jesus is the head of the body.
– We are the parts of the body.
– The Spirit is the power of the body: the Spirit is the communication system of the body; the neurons, or synapses.

The Spirit is an advanced communication system to the spiritual body of Christ, much like nerurons transmitting information in our physical body.

The Spirit is an advanced communication system to the spiritual body of Christ, much like nerurons transmitting information in our physical body.

When you, a part of the body, are hurting, you pray! The Spirit inside of you sends the message to Jesus, who asks God; God then gives the answer to Jesus (the mind), who gives it to the Spirit (the neurons), who gives it to you (the body part).

So, imagine again that we are the body of Christ. We make up different parts, but we are all joined together by the Spirit of God. We pray and we listen. I can send a prayer request to the mind (Jesus), and Jesus can tell another part of the body, who is listening, to come help me. I didn’t have to know how, or who, could help. I just need to know that Jesus can help. Jesus can send whoever is needed, but He can only use the parts of the body who are listening to the Spirit (functioning in the Body). So, also, I can pray for what I know I need, but then I can pray in tongues, by the gift of the Spirit, so that God is praying for me. The Spirit knows everything, and He can activate the right part of the body to come to my aid, where I couldn’t know the who, what, when, and wheres.

Let’s look at the verses for this painting:

– 1 Cor. 12:13-14 – For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.

– Col. 1:18 – Jesus is the head of the body, the church.

– Matt. 10:20 – For it is not you who will be speakingit will be the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.

– 1 Cor. 14:2,14,39 – For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to people but to GodFor if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays.. I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my understanding… Therefore, my brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues.

The true baptism is the baptism of the Spirit; this baptism which Jesus said would be greater than water baptism, was first seen on the day of Pentecost. Now, go and baptism in the name of the Holy Spirit also.

The true baptism is the baptism of the Spirit; this baptism which Jesus said would be greater than water baptism, was first seen on the day of Pentecost. Now, go and baptism in the name of the Holy Spirit also.

– Rom. 8:26-27 – the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.

– 1 Cor.2:10-11 – for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man who is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God.

To function as part of the body of Christ, we need to be able to function under the power of the Spirit. Any part of the body that does not respond to the signals, transmitted from the mind to that part, is broken.


Now let’s paint a picture of teamwork:
One horse can pull 700 pounds and another horse can pull 800 pounds, but together they can pull 3000 pounds! Here are just 3 ways we can use this concept:

yoked oxen1. Teamwork (exponential power) in Marriage: Taking this concept we can begin to understand why God said not to marry someone who is unequally yoked. You need to be healthy & whole when you marry, and choose someone just as strong as you are. You don’t put two damaged, injured oxen under a yoke and expect them to carry 3000 pounds with ease; the burden becomes heavy and hurts them even more. Likewise, you don’t take a donkey and yoke it to an ox. The ox overpowers the donkey, and it can hurt both animals. So don’t marry an unbeliever, or a believer who hasn’t been completely set free from the pains of sin yet. Someone who is not living in the fullness of the Spirit is dead weight. We cannot help those who are not trying to help them themselves or looking to God for help. Those who are trying, and looking, we can help like this:

2. Teamwork (exponential power) in Life: Jesus set this example for us…

– Matt. 27:32 – As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross.

We don’t take the cross from people, we have our own, but we can help people carry their cross. Look how much it looks like a yoke.

Cross help

We need people to help us through life. We were never meant to walk alone. In Jesus days people walked in groups to their destinations. We still walk in groups in life; we travel short and long periods beside each other, toward like destinations – one day with one person, and 20 years with another. God has a purpose for where He put you. He marked out the timing and location of your life. Get to know the people around you and help them carry the burden.

Acts 17:26 – From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. – Esther 4:14 – For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?

A decree had been made that all the Jews would die. No one knew Esther was a Jew. She could’ve kept living her cushy life as queen, but she saw God’s calling on her life; she put her life on the line to help someone else. She took on the burden. These are the good works God has destined for you since the beginning of time: Help those around you.

– Rom. 12:16 – Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

That guy didn’t want to help Jesus; he saw Jesus as a criminal with a death sentence.  Helping others, helps us too though. We learn their struggles and pain; we learn of their good and bad decisions. We gain wisdom for our own lives, causing the power of exponential growth. Maybe what we learn from them helps us, or helps the next person we meet. Along with helping them, pray for God to help them:

3. Teamwork (exponential power) in Prayer:

group prayer– Matt. 18:19 – Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven. “For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.” – Jos. 23:10 – One of you routs a thousand, because the Lord your God fights for you, just as he promised. – Is. 30:17 – A thousand will flee at the threat of one; at the threat of five you will all flee away, till you are left like a flagstaff on a mountaintop, like a banner on a hill. – Ex. 17:15 – Moses built an altar and called it Jehovah Nissi.

Joan of Arc with bannerJehovah Nissi means ‘the Lord is my Banner’. The Lord is my victory! God fights for us when we remind Him of His promises in prayer. He is with us when we pray, but when we agree with other people in prayer HOLD ON TO YOUR HAT! Jesus found a man who was demon possessed; the demon called himself Legion, saying he was many. Jesus, one person, put 1,000 demons to flight. Imagine what we can do when we come together, in unity, as the body of Christ, to pray for our nations problems. Demons flee, situations change, and Jesus gives us the victory! For those who are praying in the Spirit (in tongues), there is exponential power available. Everyone in the Spirit is united by the Spirit:

Example:
– Earlier this week, I thought about a teaching I had borrowed. I felt like I had kept it too long, but I wanted to finish taking notes on it, so I ripped the cd’s and put the discs in my purse. While at work, yesterday, the lender called me; I couldn’t answer, but I put the disc in her mailbox. Just then she came through the doors, checked her mail, and said, ‘WOW! God is good! His timing always astounds me. In ten minutes I am going to a meeting, and the person I’m meeting needs this study!’ The Spirit of God knew her heart, mine, and the next persons – and provided for all of us. The lender never asked me to return the study, or asked when I would be done, but the Holy Spirit knew and gave us the tools we needed to keep seeking out His will and ways.

– One day, while living in habitual sin (wayward from God), I had a desire. Someone living in the same type of sin, or under the same demonic spirit, came to me and brought me the things I had desired. They didn’t know I wanted them, and they knew that I would not use those items with them, but the evil spirit dwelling in both of us knew both of our hearts. That demonic spirit saw that he sinfully wanted to give me the items, and that I wanted the items to help me keep sinning. These items where something strange, and I was not close to this person; even in my waywardness I knew that there was no way this could’ve happened without demonic influence. That demonic spirit provided for both of us the things that we needed to continue growing in our lives of sin. You have an enemy and he mimics God’s ways. Satan has a plan for your life too. God says, if you aren’t for me, you are against me. We might not even see it, but if we don’t have the Spirit of God, we have the spirit of something else.

– Phil. 2:2 – … by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.

– 1 John 4 – Dear friends, test the spirits to see whether they are from God; This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world. You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood… He has given us of his Spirit. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.

Simply acknowledging Jesus isn’t enough to be able to discern the Holy Spirit from a demonic spirit. We need the gift of discernment from God. We also need to realize that Satan knows who Jesus is, and he can quote scripture; he tempted Jesus in the desert with scriptures that he had perverted, twisted up, to use in the wrong context as lies. Demons, likewise, can acknowledge Jesus and know scripture, but they cannot produce God’s version of love. They can only give a perverse imitation of the things God creates. They are trying to deceive us.

The Lord said He would light our path, but He does this through the gift of the Spirit called discernment. If you refuse His way, good luck...

The Lord said He would light our path, but He does this through the gift of the Spirit called discernment. If you refuse His way, good luck…

Example:
– God’s version of love is respect and patience; saving sex for marriage and protecting others. True love heals.

– A demon’s version of love can be providing a feeling of love when you have sex outside of marriage; a false/imitation love that never holds true for long. You take what you want and after you have become one in spirit (and body) with your lover, you are ripped from them leaving both people broken. False love breaks.

– 1 Cor. 12:7-10 – Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.To one there is given through the Spirit… distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues…

– Luke 4:33-34 – In the synagogue there was a man possessed by the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice, “Let us alone! What business do we have with each other, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are– the Holy One of God!”

The gifts are for today! You need to be unified to the body of Christ, through the Spirit, to be able to pray, and to be able to discern. The gifts are necessary for this day and age, because there are many AntiChrist spirits running amuck. The only way to recognize Truth is through the Spirit of Truth (the Spirit of Jesus) and with the gifts/tools He gave us (1 Cor. 12).

– 1 Cor. 14:1 – Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit


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The Paradoxical Nature of Christianity

I’m in love with a king who became a slave.
I’m in love with a God who is humble.
You gotta go down, if you wanna go up.
You’ve gotta go lower, if you wanna go higher and higher.
You’ve gotta hide, and do it in secret, if you wanna be seen by God.
It’s the inside, outside, upside down kingdom,
where you lose to gain, and you die to live.

I love the lyrics to this song by Misty Edwards: Servant of All

Have you ever noticed how much of the Bible seems to have a paradoxical nature? I’m not saying that the Bible contradicts itself; I don’t think Jesus is bipolar. I’m saying that, the ways of God seem to be the stark opposite of our ways a lot of the time. It’s like watching a movie were there are two realms: 1)right-side up heaven, and 2)upside down earth.


Paradox: Hide to be seen
Misty used some great examples of the paradoxical nature of Christianity in her song. Let’s look at those examples, and some others in scripture, and try to understand why everything seems so backwards to us:

Matthew 6:16-18 – And when you fast, don’t make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, for they try to look miserable and disheveled so people will admire them for their fasting. I tell you the truth, that is the only reward they will ever get. But when you fast, comb your hair and wash your face. Then no one will notice that you are fasting, except your Father, who knows what you do in private. And your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.

People, by nature, want to be honored and get attention from others. It’s okay to want a reward, but we should want it from God not man. It’s not wicked to expect payment for your work. It is wicked to show off to people hoping that they will think you are better than them. Love is not prideful (1 Cor. 13). Fasting is not for man anyway, it’s for God; and we don’t get God’s attention the same way we get mans attention. We’ve got to hide, and do it in secret, if we want to be seen by God.


Paradox: The servant is made king. Least is the greatest. Last is first.

Matt. 23:11-12 – The greatest among you must be a servant. But those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

Servant and KingThe one who cuts others down, will be cut down, and the one who builds others up, will be built up. It’s natural for us to try to build ourselves up, by cutting others down – forcing our way into leadership, but that’s not God’s way. God is Spirit. Man is flesh. His ways are higher than our ways (Is.55:8). God says instead to humble yourself, build others up, and then they will build you up and you will have a strong following. Would you rather follow a leader who is clearly in it for personal gain, or one who is doing what is best for the workers?

Philippians 2:5-11 – You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was Godhe did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges… he humbled himself… and died… Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth

Jesus, who was God, humbled Himself, and stepped down from His kingship to become a slave to sin and death. His willingness to die caused billions of people to live. God therefore, elevated Him to the place of highest honor.

Luke 17:33 – If you cling to your life, you will lose it, and if you let your life go, you will save it.

We now have the choice of whether we will: 1)briefly die to our own desires, so that God will exalt us with Christ and give us eternal life, or whether 2)we will live briefly in our own desires, and lose our eternal life.

Matt. 4:8-10 – the devil took him to the peak of a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. “I will give it all to you,” he said, “if you will kneel down and worship me.” “Get out of here, Satan,” Jesus told him. “For the Scriptures say, ‘You must worship the Lord your God and serve only him.’”

Jesus had the option to cling onto His own life. He could have gone ahead and stepped into His kingship, without dying on the cross. He probably preferred the idea, but Jesus realized that if He stepped into His kingship prematurely, without the hard work of dying to Himself, there would be dire consequences. He would have been eternally separated from His father, and He would have led the nations to battle, killing many of the people who He instead chose to save, help, heal, and deliver by being obedient to God’s timing/ways. Though it sometimes seems counterproductive, or contradictory, the best way to get the desires of your heart is to ‘let them die’ and hand over control to God. He will give you the desires of your heart, far exceeding what you could’ve expected or done for yourself.


Paradox: Lose your life, gain the world
Satan desired to be exalted to a higher level. He saw God make man in His image and Satan got mad about it. He wanted our position, so he cut us down for it. In doing so, Satan condemned himself to eternity in hell. If he had instead, humbled his desires, and served mankind, God probably would’ve raised him up to a new level of authority.

Ps. 37:4, 7, 9, 35-36, 38 – Delight yourself in the Lord; And He will give you the desires of your heartBe still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways… those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land… I have seen a wicked and ruthless man flourishing like a luxuriant native tree, but he soon passed away and was no more… there will be no future for the wicked.

1 Timothy 6:10 – For the love of money… some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.

How many movie stars and millionaires have we seen that commit suicide? Have you met people who were rich, who were still miserable? Most people desire a life of comfort; it’s natural for us to look to money for that comfort, but God says true happiness and comfort come from enjoying your hard work and by giving to others.

Matt. 6:31-33 – So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Matt . 7:7-11 – “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

It’s when we stop trying to build up ourselves, and start trying to build up God’s kingdom, that God gives us what we need and  want. If it’s God that makes us unique, and puts desires in our hearts, then its Gods job to bring us the fulfillment of those desires.


Paradox: Stop looking to find

– Gen. 2:19-22 – Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name.  So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals. But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.

Did you notice that it says no helper was found for Adam while he was looking among the animals? Why was he looking for a helper in the animals? Sounds like modern America to me! We should be looking for someone made in God’s image, not a wild beast of a person. But even still, it was when Adam quit looking that God brought him a suitable helper. Not by our works, but by His grace He gives good gifts to those who love Him.


Paradox: Jesus is the Tree of Life

Jesus: the Tree of Life. I love the paradox of Christianity.

Jesus: the Tree of Life. I love the paradox of Christianity.

Jesus' death, on a tree,
 brought Life for all the world to see!
Enter into me,
 O, Jesus, who died on Calvary.
You died in front of all the world,
 yet your Spirit lives inside of me.
Let the world see that you live, you breathe;
 you came back with 'God speed'.
Wisest of the Wise,
 you confound everyone –
The wisdom of the world
 is folly to the One,
Who with a paradox 
 caused us fools to know,
That the battle has been won;
 we can rest in Him who's shown:
That in death, you have true life.
 and in service, you become king;
And to deny our own power,
 is to sprout God's very wings.
The Spirit's gifts 
 are for everyone to partake;
I am wholly yours, 
 make a fool of me and take:
All the lies,
 and all the works of man –
Burn them up, 
 billow and fan.
God is Spirit, 
 and God is Love,
 He lives in every man!
Not by my might, nor by power,
 but by My Spirit, says the Lord –
Go into the world, 
 and knock on every door!
He who hears My voice and opens
 shall surely say:
Jesus, you are my hope;
 the only Truth, 
 the only Way!

– 1 Cor. 1:25 – For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.

Paradox: We can’t save ourselves, but God can save us. When we accept God, God comes to live inside of us.  … you’re so weird God ❤


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Midday as a Single Person

I am single (unmarried & not dating), but God is my husband. I was just fully settled when a light breeze closed the car door for me; slowly, and gently, but with just enough force to shut it. God is such a gentleman; the breathe, or wind, of His spirit is with us all day, and for this I say:

He is my husband;
 I am His bride.
He is my beloved,
 and I am His prize.
I am His love,
 and He is my heart.
Catch for me the foxes
 that spoil the vineyard;
 I want you to have the full harvest of my heart.
He is my gift: 
 lovely, kind, and gentle;
 He is the definition of the same love that He kindles.
When people ask me why I am single, 
 I shall say:'Have you met my husband?'
My husband is like no other;
 He is above them all.
He is strong! 
 He is mighty!
 He is my protector and song!
He supplies riches and glory to me.
 He brings home new wine
 and great joy to release.
He is patient;
 His anger never lasts more than a second.
He is altogether handsome.
 He's the full package;
 He's splendid!
He is holy set apart unto me.
 His eyes blaze with fire;
 A passion for me. 
He says His name is jealousy;
 He says He just can't get enough. 
He counts the strands of my hair;
 He numbers every tear.
He watches me as I go and as I come. 
 He can't take His eyes off me; 
 no, not even one. 
He says I'm His glorious bride, 
 without spot or blemish. 
 He sees me naked and says 'She is mine'.
His every thought is of me;
 We were destined to be together. 
He never leaves my side; 
 No matter how hard the weather. 
His promise is true, 
 He has never broken a single one. 
He is fully devoted,
 He is God's son. 
Of all His riches, 
 and all the nations who need something – 
 He puts them on hold when I speak His name. 
He loves to hear my voice;
 He says I am his most valuable jewel –
His crown and His glory. 
 His love is a very deep pool. 
No matter how busy my days get, 
 how stressed I am, he won't crack a whip.
He always takes the time to listen about my day; 
 He never puts His work or Himself above the things that I say.
He is always there to comfort and encourage;
 He gives me fresh hope, for He is my courage.
Good luck finding anyone better; 
 He is above all the rest. 
His name is Jesus; 
 Trust me – HE is the best.
He knows my every thought,
 before I have spoken a word.
He finishes my sentences
 before they are heard.
He knows me altogether;
 inside and out. 
Together we laugh at the days to come. 
 He is my anchor; We are wholly united – 
 There may be a storm, but we have no bout. 
'Home is where the heart is' 
 and my heart is in Him.
His spirit lives in me;
 In our connection there is only glee. 
 Our union is glorious beyond glorious you see. 
He pours his love out on me, 
 each and every, day and night. 
My body is His vessel; 
 I'm set apart in His sight. 
He is the prince turned king; 
 I worship Him alone.
 He calls me princess, and makes me the queen.
He calls me up as a ruler, like He; 
 He says, 'I'll give her the nations, so she 
 can judge and have power like me.'
He is my happily ever after. 
 And He's kind to every child;
 He trains, instructs, and rears. 
He guides the obedient child;
 giving them wisdom beyond their years. 
He allows the rebellious to experience 
 the consequences of their own decisions. 
Yet He goes after them with love;
 not a day should they spend in doubt.  
When they return to their senses, 
 He'll brings them out –
He'll take their punishment on himself. 
 He takes them in, restore them, never putting them on the shelf.
He takes on their consequences, 
 and forgives their sin;
 He delights when they listen and return to Him. 
He gives wonderful inheritance to every child:
 Both boy and girl are showered with gifts wild. 
They both enjoy the riches of his kingdom; 
 they have access to all the storehouses of wealth.
There is nothing that they ask
 that he wouldn't give to help;
 In Him they find all they desire. 
His name is I AM, 
 which means He's everything I need –
And today that is a husband; 
 someone to love and cherish me. 
He answers my requests so well 
 I doubt I'll ever look for another; 
God loves me so well, 
 I have no need for any other. 
In His arms is all I need;
 those same arms hold on tight to me.
Night and day, He is there for all who listen; 
 When they ask, they will see Him quicken. 
At a moments notice, everything is within grasp; 
 All you can dream, and more than you could ask. 
He never leaves; 
 no, He won't ignore. 
He doesn't fail to put the cherry on the cake;
 Hot fudge, nuts, & toppings galore. 
The most beautiful dessert 
 you could ever hope to explore! 
He is my love; 
 I'll call him names:
Like Rapha, Shammah, 
 & Nissi who reigns;
But also my prince, 
 my hero, 
 my husband, and such;
He is my God 
 and He is too much!

Worship: Let Me Love You More, by Misty Edwards

Bride of ChristThis poem is based on biblical principles. Here are the verses behind the words: Is.54:4-God is your husband; Sos.2:16-He is mine & I am His; Is.62:3-You are His crown jewel; Sos.2:15-I am His vineyard; Acts1:4-gift of the Spirit; John 4:24-God is Spirit; 1Cor.6:19-I am the temple of the Spirit; Sos.5:9-10-He is above all others & is handsome; Ps.18:2-God is strong and my protector; Job32:19-He fills me with new wine; Ps.30:5-anger lasts but a moment; Rev.19:12-His eyes blaze like fire; Ex.34:14-His name is jealous; Matt.10:30-counts my hair; Ps.56:8-catches my tears in a bottle; Ps.32:8-His eyes watch me; Eph.5:27-I am His bride without spot or blemish; 1Cor.14:25-I am naked before Him; Ps. 139:17-18-His every thought is of me; Eph.1:5-I was destined to be with Him; Deut.31:6-He will never leave me; 2Cor.1:20-He fulfills every promise; Matt.7:7-He listens to and gives me what I need; 1Cor.14:3-He comforts, encourages, and strengthens me; Ps.139:1-4-He finishes my sentences and watches me go and come; Heb.6:19-He is my anchor in the storm; Rom.5:5-He pours His love on us; 2Cor.4:7-I am a vessel for Him; Eph.1:22-Jesus is prince and king; Rev.2:26-He sets me over nations to rule with Him; Rev.20:6-We will rule with Him; James1:5-He gives wisdom; Luke15-He loves when the rebellious return home (prodigal son); Is.53:5-He took on the consequences of our bad decisions; 1John1:9-He forgives us who ask him to; Rom.8:17-we inherit the riches of God’s kingdom; Deut.28:12-we have access to the storehouse of heaven; 1John3:22-we receive everything we ask for; Sos.2:6-His arm is around me; Eph.3:20-He gives me more than I could ask or imagine; Ps.9:12-He won’t ignore us; Sos.5:16-He is altogether lovely.

– Rev. 19:6-8 – “Thanks to our God. For the Lord our God is King. He is the All-powerful One. Let us be full of joy and be glad. Let us honor Him, for the time has come for the wedding supper of the Lamb. His bride has made herself ready. She was given clean, white, fine linen clothes to wear. The fine linen is the right living of God’s people.”

– Is. 54:5 – For your Maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is his name

– 1 Cor. 7:28-35,38 –  But if you do marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. But those who marry will face many troubles in this life, and I want to spare you this. What I mean, brothers and sisters, is that the time is short. From now on those who have wives should live as if they do not; those who mourn, as if they did not; those who are happy, as if they were not; those who buy something, as if it were not theirs to keep; those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away. I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord. But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife— and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband. I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord… So then, he who marries the virgin does right, but he who does not marry her does better.

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Late Night as a Single Person

I am single (unmarried & not dating), but God is my husband. When I lay down to sleep some nights he’ll whisper, ‘I love you’; and although I know it with my mind, it’s nice to hear him speak it to my heart. It shows me the tenderness of his care.

And just like newlyweds stay up all night enjoying connection, so the Lord connects with my spirit and starts pouring into me; revealing the secrets of his heart, encouraging me, listening to my fears, showing me how to overcome. He is everything to me.

He Is.

Who would ever ask for more? He is beautiful and he sees every part of me with love. He sees my nakedness and does not put me to shame. He calls me His. He says, ‘There is no other like you. You are beautiful, my bride’. I cry and ask him to have all of me. Take every part of my heart and let it be filled with you.


To every unmarried person tonight: let him be your husband
To every married person tonight: let him be your example
To every hurting marriage tonight: let your God husband mend the pains
To all fighting pornography tonight: take comfort in your spouse


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