Let the Blood Flow

This devotion first appeared in the October 9, 2002 Laplata Home Press.

Not long ago, during a time of personal prayer, praise, and meditation, singing songs of surrender and the meaning of the cross, I realized I was overlooking a portion of the truth and reality of Christ’s atonement for me. I suddenly turned and was facing the communion table at Church. In the dark of the Church auditorium, with only the outside street light shining through the frosted windows. I saw the communion table clearly and the words engraved on the front, “This Do in Remembrance of Me.” It struck me, when I am sharing in the Lord’s Supper each week, I am awestruck by the death and resurrection of Jesus, but I’m not sure I was letting the character of awe bleed into every other aspect of my life.

When a person has clogged blood vessels, their heart doesn’t work to full capacity. The blood doesn’t get into every part of the body, or at least not enough blood. When this is the case, sometimes heart attacks, strokes, the loss of extremities and other negative conditions can result and often do. To open blood vessels so that blood flows to all the fingers, toes, and other extremities, often surgery, and or medicine, exercise, change in diet, and lifestyle are absolutely necessary. Otherwise, debilitation and death occur.

So, it is with the meaning of the Lord’s Supper in the believer’s life. In that moment as the auditorium became a sanctuary, I considered how the blood of Christ is to flow into all areas of the Christian’s life. In all relationships; family, friends, business, work, neighbors, and church. In all our financial considerations and activity; choosing government officials, in the meals we eat, in very choice we make, including TV, movies, computer and Internet, video games, our choice of friends, even in the Lord’s supper each Lord’s day.

To let the blood flow into all areas of our life means, total commitment to Jesus Christ, commitment to and participation in the Church, commitment to obedience and service, commitment to Bible study, meditation, and prayer, commitment to obedience and service, humility, forgiveness, and love.

About 20 years ago, at the Christian Church in Welch, Oklahoma, one man gave a communion meditation pointing out that the time we have to prepare for each communion service begins immediately after we have completed the last communion service. In other words, total commitment. Or to state it in modern popular lingo, 24/7. As Christians come to “the Table” each week to share in the breaking of bread and partaking of the cup, we remember the Scriptures tell us this is done to remember what Jesus Christ has done for us. Not just for a few hours a week, or whenever we feel like it, but always. A total commitment of our lives to the cause of Christ for which he died.

Have we let the blood flow into all areas of our life?

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Memory

This first appeared in the LaPlata Home Press September 11, 2002 in a weekly devotional called Flowing From the Mouth of the Jordan.

When I was 3 1/2 years old, my parents, my Grandma Dillman, and I took a trip out east.  We went to Gettysburg, Niagra Falls, and other special places of interest. The next year we went to the Rockie Mountains, the Grand Canyon, and Knotts Berry Farm as well as other places of interest of interest to us.  I remember blotches of these moments. For instance, the only thing I remember at Knotts Berry Farm was riding the train. I sat in a seat by myself (remember I am 4 1/2 years old) and two guys dressed as western bandits sit behind me and tell me to “stick-em-up.” My parents told me I told them “NO!”

Most of what I’ve told you I barely remember. In fact, the details of what I could tell you about each situation have been filled in by my parents, especially by the pictures they took of these two trips.

Every Sunday, when God’s church gathers in each church building, the church shares together in the Lord’s Supper (i.e., Communion). The Lord’s Supper is a sharing in remembering what God has done in Christ on the cross. We were not there when he nailed and died and taken down and laid in a tomb (John 19:17-20:10). We were not there when he bore our sins on the cross (2 Corinthians 5:21). But, when we came in faith to Christ in baptism, we participated in Jesus’ death for our sins (Romans 6:3-8) and the Lord’s Supper reminds us of the depth of love God has for us, and the forgiveness we’ve received in Christ through our faith and obedience.

Just like the pictures of my family’s trips fill in the blanks of my memory, reminding me of what happened in Gettysburg, and Colorado, etc., the Lord’s Supper reminds us of the work of the cross in our lives. The cross brings forgiveness of sins to those who have faith. For the Christian, participating in the Lord’s supper is as if we are participating in the cross, because Jesus experienced our sin in his suffering.

All Scripture quotations are from the New American Standard Version.

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Distressed

A few years ago, I transported a pre-school child to Macon (Missouri) and back for school. She had mental and learning disabilities and needed special teaching, but was a very, very sweet girl. She was curious about everything, asking a lot of questions all the time. She thrived on all the attention she received. I believe her smile could melt any heart.

She had difficulty pronouncing my name correctly. One day on the way to school, she asked, “Jeff Jord you goin’ pick up me?” She was really concerned that someone other than myself would be picking her up that day.

“Let not your heart be troubled, believe in God believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many dwellings-for I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself. That where I am, there you may be also” John 14:1-3. Jesus and his disciples were in the upper room when he spoke these words to them. He had washed their feet (John 13:1-20). He identified who would betray him, which baffled them (John 13:21-30). Jesus predicted that Peter would deny him three times before the rooster crowed (John 13:31-38). He even gave them the Lord’s Supper which represents his death (Matthew 26:26-29). Before all this happened, Jesus predicted his own terrible death (John 12:27-50).

All of this troubled and confused the apostles. Jesus’ words had dashed all of their kingdom hopes. He was going away and was going to die. They didn’t like what he said as well as not understanding what he was telling them either. In their troubled hearts they were in essence asking the same thing little Julia asked that one day. “Are you goin’ a pick up me?”

Jesus reassured them that in fact, he was coming back for them. They were even going to stay with him in his Father’s place. How like children we are with questions and doubts, seeking reassurance from Jesus that he didn’t just leave us but will for those become children of the Father through faith in Jesus.

This first appeared the August 10th, 2002 LaPlata Home Press

(Scripture quotations are from the New American Standard Version of the Bible)

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The Weekend is About Jesus

This weekend is the anniversary date of when Jesus was arrested, tried, crucified and died, buried, and rose again.  I call it Resurrection Sunday.  A lot of people call it Easter.

There are folks who look at similar pagan practices and assume that the Christian way of celebrating Easter is because we  borrowed and changed or Christianized their Easter practices.  To learn the truth about this, go to http://www.christianitytoday.com/ch/bytopic/holidays/easterborrowedholiday.html.  It explains the actual origins.

Now, I don’t have a problem with taking something pagan and converting it and reconciling it through Christ (cf. https://blogthechurch.wordpress.com/2009/09/30/wallys-restoration/ and https://blogthechurch.wordpress.com/2010/03/06/regeneration/ ). Isn’t that what has happened in our lives.  We were far from God, and Christ died for our sins and through Jesus we are reconciled to God.  We who were pagan* have been saved and changed through our faith in Jesus who died on the cross.

So even if we have taken a pagan holiday, or any number of pagan holidays and converted them to Christianity, how different is that from what God has done in our lives through Christ.

This weekend is about Jesus.  Unlike the celebration of Christmas, this is the actual anniversary date of the Passover night when Jesus was betrayed by Judas, arrested by the Romans on behalf of the Jewish leaders.  When Jesus was tried before the Sanhedrin, Herod and Pilate.  When the crowds wanted him crucified and Pilate on behalf of the Jewish leaders condemned Jesus to death and he was nailed to a cross and died 6 hours later.

This is the weekend that Jesus was taken down from the cross and buried in a tomb, and three days later, on Sunday morning, Jesus rose from the dead, came out of the tomb and began to show people that he was alive and that death had no power over him, that in fact his death was necessary to bring victory over Satan, sin, and death.

Jesus lives!  And the evidence is beyond a shadow of a doubt that he came back to life.  This weekend is about Jesus, but isn’t every weekend about Jesus?

We celebrate the Lord’s Supper on the first day of the week, every week like the early church did because it is about what Jesus did on the cross.  We gather on the first day of the week because the early church did so in honor of Jesus rising from the dead on Sunday.

The Barna Research Group put out a study recently that shows that most Americans recognize that Easter is a religious holiday but few recognize its real meaning ( http://www.barna.org/barna-update/article/13-culture/356-most-americans-consider-easter-a-religious-holiday-but-fewer-correctly-identify-its-meaning).

And baptism, according to Romans 6 particularly, we learn that immersion is about Jesus’ death and resurrection as well as our own.  It is in baptism that we come into contact with his death, burial, and resurrection.

I am baptized because of Jesus.  I worship on the first day of the week with God’s people because of Jesus.  I share in the Lord’s Supper, Communion every week because of Jesus.  I live life now because of Jesus.

It’s the regular Sunday School answer, “Jesus.”  It’s all about Jesus.  Let us celebrate the real thing for the real reason and honor the real Lord.

“I believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of the Living God and he is my Lord and my God.”

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* Pagan in this sense is that we were not in Christ, but outside of Christ, alienated from God.

The Lord’s Supper…Who’s it About?

Dave gave a powerful meditation for communion on Sunday.  One thing stuck with me.

He shared that in the past, if he had sinned, when communion time came, he felt that he was unworthy of partaking in the Loird’s Supper.  I’ve even known people that felt that way that wouldn’t partake if they felt unworthy because they had failed during the week.

He finally realized that the focus was not on his sin, but on Jesus Christ who payed for sin.

Is it about you or is it about Jesus?  That’s what we have got to remember.

He died for our sin, but it’s not a focus on you and me and our sin, but on the the Savior who paid for those sins.

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Observing the Sabbath

I read this quote in the 1.10.2010 Christian Standard.  “Anybody can observe the Sabbath, but making it holy surely takes the rest of the week” Alice Walker (b. 1944) American Pulitzer Prize-winning author (The Color Purple).  It reminded me of something that happened in 1981 or 82.

We were attending the Christian Church in Welch, Oklahoma.  One Sunday I gave the communion meditation and noted that the time we spend at communion is pretty short.  A few minutes for a meditation and prayer, and a few more minutes to pass the bread and cup.  In a church Welch’s size at the time it could be 10 minutes (give or take).

A couple of weeks later, a wise  man who was also a deacon in the church (whose name I can’t think of now) followed up on my meditation.  He noted my meditation that day had forced him to contemplate what I had said.  Here is what he shared with us.

Preparation for the next communion time begins right after that communion time ends.  Our life is a preparation for celebrating the holy.  Holiness is every moment.  Not just the moments leading up to sharing communion.  The moments following one communion begin our preparation to share in it again next Sunday.

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