By Jonathan BeWell
Praise the Lord, hallelujah!
Praise You, God, for your purity and perfection! Praise You Lord, Jesus Christ, for saving me and my testimony! Glory be to You, God, our Father who art in Heaven! Thanks be to the Holy Spirit's comfort, teaching and guidance! All we know, understand, experience and struggle with is for your glory, perfect plan and unquestionable will. I shall not want or crave anything outside of Jesus Christ's way. Let me know if so, let me understand what You want for us is best. May I pick up and carry my own cross, denying myself for You. I worship You as all knowing, powerful and gracious. May I draw closer to You and keep You as top priority in my family's lives. You are first, my family is second and I am here to serve. May I serve you reverently, fully and completely. May there be less of me and more of Jesus Christ instead. Jesus, You are thee only way, light and salvation. All I need is You. God, You take care of the rest. You are in control, God, making and letting everything happen. I am in awe and wonder of your creation. I am eternally grateful, worshipping You and your Son for thee ultimate sacrifice and act of love. This body is your temple, use it as You will. Bend me from my will to yours. It is all about You, everything concerns and relates to You! Yours is the kingdom, the power and the glory, forever and ever, in Jesus Christ's name, amen!
By Jonathan BeWell
Prayer Time Travel -
The Holy Bible records time. The Bible has a beginning to end, Genesis to Revelation. God is outside time. He has no beginning or end. We have a beginning with no end. We start in time, then escape it, get outside it with no end. Many prayers are throughout the Holy Bible affecting past, present and future, from whoever's perspective. Jesus Christ is! God is the great "I am," not was nor will be.
Jesus prays for all believers.
20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.
- John 17:20-21 New International Version (NIV)
Revelation in the Bible affects the past to us now and beyond to the beginning of time, Genesis. A prayer in my future affects me and my now and even my past. My prayer now about my past affects my future. I am affected by my past, present and future, now. I am not an isolated silo. We cause ripple effects, everything affects everything, everything matters. Christ's life giving water is thee all encompassing most important matter.
I lost my wallet. I decided not to fear or worry. I accepted it and let it go. Eventually I decided to pray about it, relatively long after the fact. Later, a policeman called for me to come get it from him. It had been been discovered moments after I lost it and immediately turned in. A beat cop had happened to be there. The officer had been swamped with work, so had notified and met with me a week later, having been so busy. That was my time traveling prayer eureka moment. At the time, my prayer was only to help process, comfort and put the whole matter in God's hands, whatever His will. I was happy with it and had left it at that. Yay and hallelujah, yet another reason for prayer! Now I realized and believed my prayer had actually traveled back in time. God's reach and power is anywhere anytime. He answered my prayer by changing my past, my reality and my future. What was lost was now found in time.
December 18, 2016, I prayed a short, simple to the point prayer. I met and surrendered to Jesus Christ as my Saviour and Lord. What I prayed then and there took effect in the past on the cross at Calvary. Jesus Christ was sacrificed for me and my sin debt. That past was affected by prayer in its future. That present took effect in the past and affected the future until the end of time. Then, now and then, I pray in Jesus Christ's name, amen.
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning.
- John 1:1-2 New International Version (NIV)
And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. - Colossians 2:15
A sad occourence in some circles is the diminishing of the cross of Jesus Christ. We see in many Churches the cross being taken down in sanctuaries, other symbols being used in its stead. There are other more extreme cases where believers start to think of the cross as pagan, unbiblical and even not a cross but a pole as Jehovah Witnesses teach. This should not surprise us that there is enmity and division over the cross as a symbol as it bears the very message and death of the Person of God for a lost humanity. The enemy of our souls knows this and has and continues to oppose or pervert and mis-use its symbol.
The cross gives us a powerful message and truth in visible form when looked upon. It says that the eternal God became flesh and submitted himself to death on the cross for humanity. It was death being trampled upon by the death of God. It was the triumphing over demonic hosts in the unseen. It is the love of God and forgiving of sins. Its very symbol speaks to the believer of life, the unbeliever of God's love and the demons of their defeat.
When I was in a certain city, the Holy Spirit bore witness in my heart to wear a medium size cross around my neck with large rope. I was actively evangelizing unreached Punjabi peoples in the area with the Good News of Jesus. When I obeyed God and wore the cross an amazing thing happened, everywhere I went the Punjabi people seemed to see me very clearly and where drawn to me. I remember countless times in daily life where they would just stare and after I finished what I was doing, I would go and hand a scripture booklet to them. What that experience spoke to me was that bearing the cross of Christ in reference in a physical way had a spiritual impact. Whether they looked at me with my long beard and cross as a holy man or devoutly religious, I am not sure. But I could not deny the difference it made. It also made me councious that I was a bearer of this message of the Cross to the people daily.
Another way the symbol of the cross was used in the early Church was by tracing it on the forehead and other ways. This practice began with water baptism and later became an accepted way of acknowledging the Lord and the death of Christ. Cyril an early church leader in AD. 310 wrote: "Let us not then be ashamed to confess the Crucified. Be the Cross our seal made with boldness by our fingers on our brow, and on everything; over the bread we eat, and the cups we drink; in our comings in, and goings out; before our sleep, when we lie down and when we rise up; when we are in the way, and when we are still." Martin Luther as other protestants carried on this tradition of the sign of the cross. Luther said, "In the morning, when you rise, you shall make the sign of the holy cross, and you shall say: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Then, kneeling or standing, you shall say the Apostles’ Creed and the Lord’s Prayer." This way of doing the sign of cross was to touch the fore-head, then the belly, then left shoulder, then right. This motion made a cross and it signified many things including, (1) acknowledging the Lord (2) declaring triumph over the enemy (3) testifying that our body, spirit and soul belong to God (4) putting in remembrance the death of Christ.
Should all believers wear crosses, have cross symbols in their home or church, or make the visible sign of the cross daily? This question should make us ask another question first, Do I daily remember, praise and thank God for the Cross of Christ? Is it always in my remembrance? All of these traditions of the symbol of the cross are servants to the greater reality of the very death of Christ for each of us personally. Life, time, work, vocations distract us at times from the very purpose and person that everything is all about. M. Basilea Schlink says, "You were created and redeemed to focus on Jesus – on Him alone." St. Paul the apostle said that the cross was everything to him, it was his focus and boast (Galatians 6:14).
Let us remember daily that it is this powerful cross that frees us from sin, satan and our own very self. Let it be in our gaze daily in all the motions of life. And hear the voice of your Lord saying "Remember Me", "Remember what I did for you." Yes, Lord we will remember you, let us not lose the wonder and holiness of your Cross.
Jesus said of his body: “destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.” (John 2:19). “But He was speaking of the temple of his body.” (John 2:21). So in the light of this I would believe that God the Father raised Jesus from the dead (1st Thessalonians 1:10), but then I’d also believe that Jesus raised himself from the dead (John 2:19-21 and also 10:17-18), and finally I’d also believe that the Holy Spirit (together with the Father and Son) also raised Jesus from the dead (Romans 8:11).
“Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord!" But he said to them, "Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.” (John 20:34-35, NIV).
Jehovah’s Witnesses will claim that Jesus was crucified on a stake with his arms placed directly above his head and a single nail piercing through both wrists. They make this claim, as they have for approximately fifty years, also rejected the belief that Christ was crucified with his hands spread apart. However, Thomas at John 20:25 uses two plural words; ‘nails’ and ‘hands,’ to imply that Jesus had more than one hand and that he also more than one nail piercing these two hands. It’s inconceivable that the plural word ‘hands’ could imply that Jesus only had one hand, likewise, the plural ‘nails’ implies two nails in a ‘spread apart’ position, which was how the Romans traditionally crucified people.