These past six months have been a very difficult time, as well as very painful for me. I have not only cried, but have joined a Celebrate Recovery group online where I have been healing and working the steps to restore, forgive, be forgiven, make amends as well as let go of the hurts, hangups and habits that I have hung on to for so long. When I say that it has been a painful process, I mean that from the bottom of my heart. I have not only exposed my self, but the layers of my past have come off and have been laid down and I am on the mend and healing. Working through my hurts, hangups and habits has gotten me closer to God, and at the same time I have also been working on making amends toward those that I have hurt as well as forgive those that have hurt me. Letting go of that hurt and leaving it at God’s feet. It is a purging process that I have been doing and will continue to do and when something comes up I will be looking at things differently and seeing if they are from God or if they are coming from somewhere else meaning Satan. I no longer want to be the same person that I was, nor do I want to repeat this process ever again. My recovery will continue, but I will also become a stronger and better Christian as I look to God and rely on Him for everything. This has not been an easy road for me to take, but it has been a necessary one. I have been hurting and it is time for me to deal with it, and letting go of the past and all the feelings that stop me from knowing who I am in Christ. I now know what my identity is in Christ and I am going to help others become the same and continue to work on being the best servant for God as well as being a woman after God’s own heart.
In my devotional reading today from Phil Ware I not only see this, but I also know that we must do this as a body of Christ to follow all these things as God has commanded us to do. I have been reading and learning from Phil about what Jesus would have us do with him in this daily devotional as he writes it as if Jesus was actually talking to us. Read what Phil Ware has written for today:
“Essential Unity” — A Year with Jesus for 10/21/2014
Note from Jesus
Dear Member of My Body,
In several of Paul’s letters, he emphasized that My church was not just a body, but My bodily presence in the world(Romans 12:3-8; 1 Corinthians 12:1-30). When I lived on earth in a physical body, I brought the touch and truth of the Father to a broken and confused world. Now as My body, you are called to do the same thing.
You are a member of My body. The concept of being a member of an organization called a church is foreign to the New Testament and to My own teaching. When My apostles used the term “member” they were talking about a member of a body — a vital body part of an organism. How you treat others in My family, what you believe, and how you use your gifts to significantly impact My church. How you live these dynamics either helps or hinders the church to live and serve as My bodily presence in the world.
When Paul wrote the verses below, he used the emotional leverage of his imprisonment to remind My disciples in Ephesus and Asia Minor of the importance and urgency of:
- living with a definite character that reflected My character,
- agreeing on key doctrinal truths centered in Our — Father, Son, and Spirit’s — nature, and
- using their spiritual gifts to help My body to impact the world with My character and compassion.
As they did these three things, My body on earth would reflect and continue My ministry. These things would help them resist false teaching and would restore My presence to the world through their lives as My church. These things happened, however, only when each member — each “body part” — did its work, based on faith and a shared doctrinal core and lived with gracious compassion for each other.
Verses to Live
Paul wrote Ephesians to give My disciples a glorious view of the Father’s intention for the church. In today’s verses, Paul emphasized that essential unity among My disciples must have three dimensions: unity of gracious character (paragraph 1 below), unity in faith essentials (paragraph 2), and unity as My bodily presence through using their gifts to bless My church as well as the lost world (paragraph 3). Unfortunately, the evil one can give My life, My message, and My church a bad name when My followers emphasize only one or two of these to the exclusion of the others. Please know that all three are important if you are to restore My presence to the world through My church!
As a prisoner of the Lord, I urge you: Live a life that is worthy of the calling He has graciously extended to you. Be humble. Be gentle. Be patient. Tolerate one another in an atmosphere thick with love. Make every effort to preserve the unity the Spirit has already created, with peace binding you together.
There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were all called to pursue one hope. There is one Lord Jesus, one living faith, one… washing through baptism, and one God — the Father over all who is above all, through all, and in all.
This God has given to each of us grace in full measure according to the Anointed’s gift as the Scripture says,
When He ascended to the heights,
He put captivity in chains;
And in His triumph, He gave gifts to the people.
(Well, when it says “He ascended,” then that must mean that He had descended earlier to the lower levels, that is, to the earth. The One who descended is the same One who rose from the dead to ascend far above all the heavens so that He could fill all things.) It was the risen One who handed down to us such gifted leaders — some emissaries, some prophets, some evangelists, as well as some pastor-teachers — so that God’s people would be thoroughly equipped to minister and build up the body of the Anointed One. These ministries will continue until we are unified in faith and filled with the knowledge of the Son of God, until we stand mature in His teachings and fully formed in the likeness of the Anointed, our Liberating King. Then we will no longer be like children, tossed around here and there upon ocean waves, picked up by every gust of religious teaching spoken by liars or swindlers or deceivers. Instead, by truth spoken in love, we are to grow in every way into Him — the Anointed One, the head. He joins and holds together the whole body with its ligaments providing the support needed so each part works to its proper design to form a healthy, growing, and mature body that builds itself up in love.
Response in Prayer
Father, forgive us. We have been short-sighted children. Sometimes we grow weak on truth and end up compromising Your will. Sometimes, dear Father, we’ve gotten so hung up on our own version of doctrine that we’ve forgotten to treat each other with gracious compassion. Other times, Father, we’ve forgotten to use our gifts and gotten caught up in going to church or being a member of a religious group rather than realizing that we are parts of Jesus’ bodily presence, Your re-incarnation of Jesus to the world through the church. So please forgive us — and please forgive me in particular — for our short-sightedness, contentious spirit, and lack of involvement in Jesus’ body, the church. While I cannot speak for everyone, O God, I do pledge my heart, my life, and my all to live out Your call to gracious compassion toward my brothers and sisters in Christ, to centering My faith in Your work and Your identity as Father, Lord Jesus the Son and Anointed One, and the Holy Spirit. I also pledge to focus my attention doctrinally on the truths that center on Your identity — the church as Jesus’ body, hope in Jesus’ return, faith in Jesus as Lord, and my baptism into Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection. I also pledge, dear Father, to use the gifts You have given to me to bless Jesus’ church and help it minister as Jesus’ presence in my world. I ask for this forgiveness and I make this pledge in Jesus’ name. Amen.
This is not only my mission, but my prayer for all of you. Will you join me? What are your thoughts?