Where is the Body of Christ Today?

Where is the Body of Christ today?  Lots of people struggle to know where we are and where we are heading.  I want to unravel some things God has been showing me to give you some points to ponder on and some meat to chew on.

Do you ever wonder why when we accept Jesus, we are like this live wire running around half-crazed and wanting to witness to everyone?  Some of us may be the transformed person who withdraws from our old friends because we can’t relate to them anymore or we sometimes even fear that we may get drawn back into behaving like or being “the old us”.  I came across some really interesting scripture and I would love to unfold it.

            •           Isaiah 59:15-21

                      The Lord was displeased that there was no justice. He saw there was no one, and He was appalled that there was no one to intervene. So His own arm worked salvation for Him, and His own righteousness sustained Him.

                      He put on the breastplate of righteousness, the helmet of salvation, put on garments of vengeance, and wrapped himself in zeal as in a cloak.

            •           Isaiah 40:10

                      Sovereign Lord comes with power and his arm rules for him

This makes perfect sense: when we are saved, we are wrapped in the Zeal of the Lord, we are given the helmet of salvation, and the breastplate of righteousness and God has his vengeance because He has redeemed us from the enemy. His great vengeance is to see those who come against us come to know Him also.  Now that is the vengeance in my book!

We run 100 mph in the direction for God, and yes, we are new Christians with little or no wisdom! God doesn’t say “stop running”, He says to ask for wisdom!  Whereas the Church says for us to slow down and get educated.  When did the disciples slow down? They were educated as they walked life out with Jesus.  They didn’t wait until they got the 4 point sermon on how and how not to minister.  They also stumbled and many times Jesus just shook his head at their lack of faith and other times He sent them back out to go ahead of Him like “lambs among wolves”.  They wanted to call down fire on a town that refused to receive Jesus and for that they were rebuked by Jesus.  He didn’t give them a time out or wait years for them to get it right. He continued to allow them to walk beside Him or even to go out ahead of Him.  This is completely upside down to the way we are taught.  Their lack of faith and heart alignment did not cause Jesus any struggles, He just kept walking with them and teaching them (even Judas the deceiver).  Jesus still loved them even with their fighting amongst theirselves as to whose miracles were better or who was going to get to sit beside Jesus in the Kingdom!  They walked it out and through walking it out, they learned. Although we do not have Jesus physically walking with us, we have the Holy Spirit to teach us as we go.

            •           Isaiah 60:1-4

                      Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples; but the LORD rises upon you and His glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn. Lift up your eyes and look about you: All assemble and come to you; your sons come from afar, and your daughters are carried on the hip.”

            •           Ezekiel 2:1-3 

                      He said to me, “Son of man stand up on your feet and I will speak to you.” As he spoke, the Spirit came into me and raised me to my feet, and I heard him speaking to me. He said: “Son of man, I am sending you to the Israelites, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against me; they and their ancestors have been in revolt against me to this very day.

            •           Ezekiel 2:4-7

                      The people to whom I am sending you are obstinate and stubborn.  Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says.’  And whether they listen or fail to listen—for they are a rebellious people—they will know that a prophet has been among them.  And you, son of man, do not be afraid of them or their words. Do not be afraid, though briers and thorns are all around you and you live among scorpions. Do not be afraid of what they say or be terrified by them, though they are a rebellious people.  You must speak my words to them, whether they listen or fail to listen, for they are rebellious.

The Spirit of God went into Ezekiel and it raised him to his feet. When the Spirit of God comes into us, we should be empowered by the Love, the power, and the authority of Jesus Christ. We are okay in Church or even on the streets with people praying a prayer.  I believe we are in a culture that thinks it is okay to just pray a prayer and their lives are all changed. However, we don’t read that in scripture and this amazing book of Ezekiel is a guide to help us walk into the heart of the Father. The Word of God then tells Ezekiel that the people are “obstinate and stubborn and won’t listen to Him when He speaks”. In the Hebrew this means: hard, difficult, severe, and even fierce.  The part of this scripture that caught my attention was that even though the people may not listen to Ezekiel, they would “know that a prophet had been among them”.  The church needs to be empowered by the Holy Spirit to go where the Father is to do His will. God told Ezekiel to not be afraid, to listen to what he had to say, to not rebel, and to open his mouth and eat what God was giving him (Ezekiel 2:8-9). We need to understand how important those words from God may be to someone else; they may break off someone’s chains from the enemy.  What if you chose not to speak to that person?  What happens to me?  Ezekiel 3 gives revelation about what can happen. When God asks us to speak to someone, we need to understand that we should walk in the reverential fear of God.  I know we walk under grace, but I also believe we are held accountable for every single thing which we are given.  Ezekiel is told (Ezekiel 3: 18-19) that if he doesn’t share with someone when God asks him to and that person dies, their blood is on the hands of Ezekiel!  Wow, those words should put the reverential fear of the Lord in you!  As I read those words in Ezekiel, they really hit me!

Ezekiel 3:18-19

When I say to a wicked person, ‘You will surely die’, and you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade them from their evil ways in order to save their life, that wicked person will die for their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood.  But if you do warn the wicked person and they do not turn from their wickedness or from their evil ways, they will die for their sin; but you will have saved yourself.

Ezekiel 3:20-21

Again, when a righteous person turns from their righteousness and does evil, and I put a stumbling block before them, they will die. Since you did not warn them, they will die for their sin. The righteous things that person did will not be remembered, and I will hold you accountable for their blood.  But if you do warn the righteous person not to sin and they do not sin, they will surely live because they took warning, and you will have saved yourself.

When I look at Ezekiel 2, I see that when the Spirit of the Lord came upon Ezekiel it stood him to his feet.  It gave him the ability to stand tall and took him from a seated position to a ready to go position.  The Holy Spirit helped to change his position for the season he was about to walk into.  We need the Holy Spirit to stand us up and to prepare us to be in position where we are called and to stand firm on the words God is giving us to stand on. Throughout the Book of Acts it speaks of the importance of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. There are many examples given in the Book of Acts about how people receive this Baptism of the Holy Spirit, making it clear that there is no set way people receive the Holy Spirit.  I am not saying we don’t get a measure of the Spirt when we first receive Jesus.  I am talking about the actual Baptism of the Holy Spirit. I challenge you to read through the entire book of Acts and look for the different outpourings of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and I will go over some to help you better understand the importance of going after this in our own lives and for other people’s lives.  What if the Baptism of the Holy spirit is what actually gives people the power to walk out their salvation?  We wonder why people can’t straighten up their lives after they say a simple prayer.  We think that the “Sinner’s Prayer for Salvation” is all that is needed.

Let’s start with Jesus breathing on the Disciples in John 21 and saying “receive the Holy Spirit”.  Welcome the Comforter! In Acts 1:2, Scripture states that they received instructions through the Holy Spirit.  Jesus said “receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you and you will be my witnesses … and to the end of the earth.” In this Scripture it once again talks about a “power” that will give you the ability to proclaim the gospel.  Unfortunately we see very little power within the Body of Christ and it makes me wonder why?!  Scripture also says “it is not (for us) to know the times or dates the Father has set by His own authority”, so why are we so obsessed with trying to figure out when Jesus is going to return?  If we would stop trying to get Jesus to come back to snatch us out of this horrific life and instead start to focus on the Jesus that lives inside of us and pray for the Baptism of the Holy Spirit to come upon us to give us the power to walk out our destiny, I feel we would really see the Body of Christ come into alignment with the heart of the Father and the nations would begin to see healing.

As the Disciples were praying and about the Father’s business, a suddenly came in Acts 2 with a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit.  The Spirit of God is not just for some, but for all ages and all genders and all races.  Peter talks about the importance of dreams and visions and most importantly prophecy.  What if we really walked so in tune with the Father and Jesus, so filled with the Spirit that we would really start to speak life into others and see them set free, delivered, healed and their hope would be restored and they also would be on fire for God?  I think we would see what the early Church in Acts saw when they saw 3,000 people added to their numbers in just one day and they then increased in size daily. What could that look like?  I have an small example that happened one day while we were doing an outreach.  To make a long story short, it was through the prophetic and through love that we saw God give Words of Knowledge about people’s injuries in a really rough neighborhood in people that needed to experience the tangible presence of God.  Each person on the porch was healed and set free to the degree that one man had a shoulder injury which the Lord gave me a Word of Knowledge about and the man kept asking “how did you know?” When I said that God showed me that he had shoulder pain, he was still in disbelief.  The man was healed and set free of the effects of PTSD and anger issues.  How cool was it to see the move of God touch everyone on that porch, not leaving anyone out?  This move of God continued across the street onto to another porch!  The most awesome thing was standing on the porch, speaking life into a man and having him say to me: “I want to know this God you know”.  He asked about how he could know the God I know!  I surprised myself when I said these words: “You already know Him, but the people who prayed for you didn’t pray for the Baptism of Holy Spirit so you could receive the power to walk out your salvation”.  Wow, he asked me to pray for him.  As we were ministering, another man stepped up onto the porch.  This young man had the lingo and verbiage to put the best of the best revival tent Pastors to shame and I believe this young man and the words he spoke could have an entire tent of people on their faces at a Revival Tent Meeting.  One small problem: he was strung out on drugs!  I asked him if he had a lower back problem and he replied “yes!”  Again, God touched lives on both sides of the street that day.

The Rulers of the Law in Acts 4:13 were astonished by the boldness and confidence they saw demonstrated in uneducated, ordinary men and these men could see that they had been with Jesus!  I am excited for the Body of Christ to walk in such a way that we really do emulate Jesus because we are His reflection in the world today. When will we walk with Jesus in the full measure of His joy?  What seems to be missing in the Body of Christ that God is putting on your heart to do differently?

What are the Shepherds doing?  Are they doing the will of their Father?  God says we can judge the fruit of others and when I hear others say they equip people, but still see the same old same as yesterday, I shake my head.  God keeps taking me back to the Scriptures, showing me areas like in Nehemiah where the ministering priests, worshipers and the gatekeepers were provided a place to stay.  Nehemiah said “We will not neglect the house of our God” (Nehemiah 10:39).  Later within the Book of Nehemiah this all gets changed when Nehemiah leaves for a season and it was under another person’s responsibility. Everything changed and the the worshipers and Levites who where responsible for the services had gone back to their own fields because the portion assigned to them previously had not been given to them.  I understand that as ministries are created and just becoming established, this is really hard to do because of the lack of finances and the lack of room to house people – that is not what I am considering. I struggle with understanding the fine line of balance because I saw within Scripture the importance of worshipers and I feel that the gatekeepers could represent some of our important intercessors.  I do not know how to walk this all out, but I felt God is highlighting this area of Scripture to the degree that He put it on my heart this morning and I opened my Bible to the exact Scripture.  In Nehemiah 13:11, Nehemiah is rebuking the officials and asked them this important question: “Why is the house of God neglected?”  I feel God is saying something deeper in these Scriptures and it goes along with Scripture in Ezekiel 34:

Ezekiel 34:1-6

The word of the LORD came to me: “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Woe to you shepherds of Israel who only take care of yourselves! Should not shepherds take care of the flock? You eat the curds, clothe yourselves with the wool and slaughter the choice animals, but you do not take care of the flock. You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured. You have not brought back the strays or searched for the lost. You have ruled them harshly and brutally. So they were scattered because there was no shepherd, and when they were scattered they became food for all the wild animals. My sheep wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. They were scattered over the whole earth, and no one searched or looked for them.

These Scriptures point out where the church has been and I feel God is saying we are slowing coming out of this dark age and into the Son age.  I struggled for years after God showed me these Scriptures and I have been holding on to this revelation for quite a few years.  I couldn’t understand why the pastors and leaders of large ministries would say one thing, such as “we are an equipping center”, but I really only saw very few people being launched out on their own and into ministry.  I am starting to see that we only teach what we have been taught, and sometimes others see it differently and when I see something differently, I am responsible for what I am given and not what someone else is doing.

I have an amazing friend who God used to help open my eyes.  I would see anger and frustration run me around a flag pole when I would see these things and she helped me to see that “they are only doing what they know”.  I saw that a Pastor who had been in ministry for about 30 years is only just now walking out some things in his life that I had started to walk out a few years ago.  I shook my head in disbelief, but God showed me that He is only just bringing leaders out into a new season where they will be ready to be diligent with the beginning stages of what everyone calls the “Billion Soul Harvest”.  Bob Jones who was an incredible Prophet spoke of the Billion Soul Harvest and that God had sent him back from death to touch a few of the leaders that God will use during that Harvest.  I believe that millions of leaders are needed to be raised up that look at ministry differently; they will need to be “Upside Down Kingdom” men and women.  I now see the beginnings of that happening across the world where you see people actually empowering others and launching them in to their destinies.  If you as a leader have not helped to open doors for others, I question whether you really have empowered the Body of Christ.  I was not a mother in the natural, but sometimes when we don’t have something, the longing in our spirit is greater. Sometimes when we didn’t see something happen in our own lives, God will use that to catapult us into position to be used in ways we have not been taught by man. Such as the way God is opening doors for me in ministry where man never opened doors for me, and I am now in a position to help to launch others through those same doors.  Even if I am unable to walk through a door myself, will I open it for someone else I believe God is using?  Will I help empower someone who has struggled in life and call out their greatness?  Will I give grace where I never saw grace when God prompts me to be more gracious?  Do I really trust God more than I trust myself, is that really what it all comes down to?  Will I be the quarter in God’s pocket to be spent any way He chooses?

I pray this stirs your heart to go after answers in your own life.  I am not here to point fingers, nor am I hear to tell you how it is all done.  I believe that if we would all listen to God, it would look different to each of us.  God can use an ex-drug dealer to reach a really rough area but he could also choose to use a person like Hiedi Baker to reach out to a rough area and both of these people could be used in the same way.  Looking at life without allowing our experiences to hinder the way we walk forward is a huge key.  Allowing what people say to take you deeper into the heart of the Father for confirmation is also a key factor.  We need others in our lives but they do not have the final say on how we walk out our life.  When you stand before God, those people who are around you now will not be standing beside you.  You will not be able to say “they told me to do this or that”.  You will be responsible for yourself and no one else but yourself.  We need to live our lives by looking at life in this way:  If Jesus was standing before you in this moment, what would you be saying or doing?  An incredible ministry partner says that all the time and I love it and have started to use that in my daily walk with Jesus.  Would I say some of the things I say while standing before God or would I do some of the things I do if I was standing before Jesus?  If Scripture is correct and John 17 is truth, Jesus and God live inside of me and we might want to start caring more about how we walk out our lives.  I am also a work in progress and my measuring stick is that I want to be in a better place tomorrow than I am standing in today!

Song of Solomon 5 Revelation:

As God took me on this journey of unveiling more of what He was showing me about the body of Christ and where the Western Church is and isn’t, I continued to ask questions because it was hitting my heart severely.  I felt called by God to go to a Church on the evening before the Day of Atonement to spend the night in that Church praying.  During this time, God had me read the entire Book of the Song of Solomon.  God got my attention in a major way through Chapter 5 and has taken me back to that Scripture many times since.

The Scripture in Song of Solomon 5:3-6 really concerns me for the Body of Christ.  What if this is where the Church Body is at this moment in time? What if we are too busy to answer the door when our lover, Jesus, comes knocking? Will we answer in the same way when we just took off our robe? Will we not want to put it back on to go to the door? Will we have just washed our feet and not want to soil them again, so we won’t go to the door to answer when He comes? Will His scent draw us, but will it be after He has already left?  I know the ending of the story is where she is back with her lover and that is very exciting. What if we are to be an example so others can follow us?

This is not to condemn anyone. My prayer is that you seek out the posture of your own heart and allow God to speak to you on the areas God is highlighting for you to address. I feel I am writing some of this to stir your heart to take it all back to God to let Him reveal His own revelation and heart for you!

Wedding Banquet Revelation:

Another revelation God gave me happened one day while I was sitting in a United Methodist Church.  The Pastor has been an amazing friend and pastor to me over the last 8 years; he has honored me as I have grown in Christ and blessed me.  I was sitting in his service one Sunday and he was talking about the Wedding Banquet. This has been an area that I have been camping out in for quite a while, trying to understand who the person represents that has no wedding garment on. As I was intently listening and enjoying what God was speaking through the Pastor, I felt the prompting of the Holy Spirit to look up the Greek word for Wedding Garment discussed in Matthew 22:1-13. I have had this on my heart for some time because I believe the Church is in this very place and God has been speaking to me about the shape of the Bride, His Church!

The Father wants to have a Wedding Banquet for His Son and sends out His servants to invite guests to the banquet.  The people invited are not interested or have more important things going on in their lives and they decline make their excuses for not attending the Wedding Banquet. Their excuses are: one tending to his field, another to his business, and the rest of the people invited seize His servants, mistreating and even killing them.  While the Banquet is being prepared, the King sends out more servants to gather all the people they can find on the Highways and the Byways. They are instructed to get the good and the bad.  They are to fill the Wedding Hall with guests.  When the King comes in to see the guests, He notices one man not wearing a Wedding Garment!  The King has him bound hand and foot and taken away and casts him into the “darkness where there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

The Wedding Garment in the Greek is the same word for Outer Garment!  It is the same word used for the Outer Garment that Peter puts on to dive into the water as he returns to Jesus who is waiting to feed him breakfast on the shore.  It is the same word, so it has to have the same meaning!  What if this person who I have been trying to figure out whether is good and bad is a person who says they are a Christian, but there is not yet any fruit in their life?  What if this person thinks they can slide through, unnoticed in life as a Christian in name only?  This touches my heart in a way that scares me!  That is who I was before God pulled my car off the embankment over 7 years ago; I was a Christian in name only. That could also be many people I know today. I am not judging. I am just really concerned because of the information that God is revealing to me; the more I come into agreement with the Heart of the Father, the more my heart breaks for the Body of Christ where many still do not have an active relationship with all three members of the Trinity.

What does Reformation look like today?

God has been creating a burning in my heart to see where His heart is for the Body of Christ.  He has taken me on a journey for the past few years and each time God shows me something, it breaks my heart more and more which in turn causes me to seek out His heart even more.

God has shown me Scriptures that grip my heart with brokenness because I know where I was for 18 years as a so-called Christian. Would I have gone to heaven on the day I tried to commit suicide? How much of my life would I have missed out on?  Then I thought of my destiny in the Lord!  Was I even walking in my destiny?  Would I have left a legacy that would help others walk into their destiny? Probably not!

I had always believed in the concept of Once Saved Always Saved!  I am not 100% convinced of that today and I will share more with you as this all unfolds.  God says that no one will snatch you out of His hand, but what about you yourself walking out of His hand?  I did have this incredible faith that if I died I would go to heaven! I do know that I was deeply moved emotionally on the day I received Jesus as my Lord and Savior as a 20 year old.  During those 18 years of that Christian walk, did I somehow unknowingly walk out of His will? That is what I would like to ask you to seek out within your life- are you walking within the center of the destiny that the Lord has for you?

I have started asking God questions all the time.  Questions like these:  How do I finish this race well?  What is the race I am running?  Who am I? What is my purpose in life?  How do I walk in the fullness of what You have for me in my life?  How can I leave a legacy for others to see how to walk out their own destinies?

I had many questions and for quite a while very few answers.  God showed me that my identity is not in man or other things (like my job) and my identity can’t be created by what I do or where I go. The key to my identity was to know and understand Who lives inside of me and Whose I am.  Learning more about God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit that abide in me was the beginning to me understanding my true identity. I saw the lack of this training in the Church firsthand.  How can I learn was my question?  God took me through a series of steps for this learning process.  He would show me Scriptures that would rend my heart and then I would hear speakers that would give me pieces of golden nuggets that fit together like a puzzle. The greatest part of this journey seeking understanding of my true identity has been the journey with Him.

Jesus said before He “died” that we will do the things He did and even greater things.  Everything started with fire and excitement as His Church began in Acts 2. Now when you look out across the Body of Christ (Church), you don’t really see the Power and Authority of God moving in the Church Body for the most part.

God took me into the heart of Ezekiel one day and in just the first few Chapters it wrecks you for more of God.  The second Chapter of Ezekiel was a place God used to speak to me about how the Spirit of God moved Ezekiel.

John 21:5-19

When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”  Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”  

16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”  He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”  Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”  

17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”  Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.

18 Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” 19 Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”

Jesus is the key to our walk in life and ministry and He has given us so much to unpack.  What if what the world says is Peter being reinstated and forgiven is really Jesus actually showing Peter how to Shepard those he will lead?  What if through John 21, Jesus is helping us to understand leadership in ministry and we can even use it in our own lives.  Jesus asks Peter does he love him and Peter responds with a “yes” each time.  Each time Jesus asks, the word Love represents a different type of Love within the English translation of the words used for love.  Going a bit deeper into those scriptures, Jesus says in the first Scriptures for Peter to “feed my lambs”.  Feeding a lamb is unique and what I have read shows they have 4 different sets of teeth as they grow.  Could it be possible that new Christians need to be fed at the level they are able to chew the “meat” after they are weened from the milk which they need as brand new lambs.  So there seem to be 5 different stages of the learning process for Christians.  As a leader or Shepherd, I would need to know each one of my flock and to really know them and the level where they are in their spiritual walk.

When you move into the next group of Scriptures, Jesus says, “Take care of my Sheep”.  What if we actually need to spend time with people to get to know them and then we can know where they are having breakthrough and where they are struggling.  God is all about relationship and He is about being in our lives fully and constantly.  He gives us what we need to make our own choices in life without going against our will.  How can we do this differently in our lives and know the people around us without being discouraged with their walk of life?  How can we grow in grace and freely give it to others when needed while also giving correction and exhortation to help set them on the correct course of life as Christians.

Within the last section of Scripture, Jesus says “Feed my Sheep”.  We can’t feed something or someone without knowing what their need is or how to reach them.  It all goes back to understanding who we are responsible for in our walk of life as well as how do we help them get to the next season of their life without cutting out the stoney path for them.  We can be used by God to help them, but ultimately they need to do the work for their own lives.  The work they need is to find the heart of the Father in their life and to understand that their life is so precious and so valued that Jesus came just for them and them alone.  We spread ourselves so far and wide sometimes that too many people get lost in the cracks of life.  How can we help raise the leader in others to become the true Body of Christ?  What is your role in this part of life and who are you empowering?  Don’t say that is not your call.  I think it is for all of us; Jesus commissioned us all and if Jesus lives inside of you there is nothing holding you back and there is nothing impossible for you in the task set before you. After Jesus says all that, He has one more command for Peter.  Jesus says: “Follow me!”  Peter followed unto death upside down upon a Cross.  I would like to propose that in that moment, Peter was transformed into the Rock and against this Rock the gates of hell will not prevail.

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