The apostle Paul instructs us, “Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually” (1 Corinthians 12:27). Then he says more specifically, “For in fact the body is not one member but many” (12:14).
Paul is telling us, “Take a look at your own body. You have hands, feet, eyes, ears. You are not just an isolated brain, unattached to the other members. Well, it’s the same way with Christ. He’s not just the head. He has a body, and we comprise its members.”
Paul drives this point home, saying, “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we, though many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread” (1 Corinthians 10:16-17). Simply put, we’re all fed by the same food: Christ, the manna from heaven. “For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world” (John 6:33).
Jesus often spoke to his disciples in parables and each parable contained a hidden truth of God. These secrets have been shared by Father, Son and Holy Ghost from before creation: “I will open My mouth in parables; I will utter things kept secret from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 13:35). Jesus testifies that these hidden truths are revealed only to those who take time to seek them.
Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life…I am the living bread which came down from heaven… he who feeds on Me will live because of Me” (John 6:35, 51, 57). The image of bread here is important. Our Lord is telling us, “If you come to me, you’ll be nourished. You’ll be attached to me, as a member of my body. Therefore, you’ll receive strength from the life-flow that’s in me.” Indeed, every member of his body draws strength from a single source: Christ, the head. Everything we need to lead an overcoming life flows to us from him.
This bread is what distinguishes us as members of his body. We are set apart from the rest of humanity because we dine from a single loaf: Jesus Christ. “For we, though many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread” (1 Corinthians 10:17).
I believe that Psalm 46 is a picture of the New Testament “promised land.” Indeed, Psalm 46 represents the divine rest referred to in Hebrews: “There remains therefore a rest for the people of God” (Hebrews 4:9). This Psalm describes this rest to God’s people. It speaks of his ever-present strength, his help in time of trouble, his peace in the midst of chaos. God’s presence is with us at all times, and his help always arrives on time.
Israel rejected this rest: “Then they despised the pleasant land; they did not believe His word” (Psalm 106:24). Sadly, the church today is much like Israel. In spite of God’s great promises to us—his assurance of peace, help and full supply—we don’t trust him fully. Instead, we complain, “Where is God in my trial? Is he with me or not? Where is any evidence of his presence? Why does he keep letting these hardships pile up on me?”
Today, I hear the Lord asking his church, “Do you believe I still speak to my people? Do you believe I desire to give you my help and guidance? Do you truly believe I want to speak to you daily, hourly, moment by moment?” Our response has to be like David’s. That godly man shook all hell when he made this statement about the Lord: “For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.” (Psalm 33:9).
Here is God’s promise to every generation who would believe his Word that he desires to speak to us: “The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of His heart to all generations” (33:11). The Creator of the universe wants to share his very thoughts with us!
Scripture make it clear: Our God spoke to his people in the past, he’s speaking to his people now, and he’ll continue to speak to us till the very end of time. More to the point, God wants to speak to you about your problem today. He may do it through his Word, through a godly friend, or through the Spirit’s still, small voice, whispering, “This is the way, walk in it.”
No matter what means he uses, you will recognize his voice. The sheep know the voice of their Shepherd. And, “He preserves the souls of His saints; He delivers them out of the hand of the wicked” (Psalm 97:10).
If you took a coyote and said, “I’m going to transfer you from your native kingdom into a chicken coop”, that would probably not go well for the chickens unless the coyote’s heart was changed first.
We all had a coyote nature to kill, steal and destroy before we came to Christ. Martin Luther called this the bondage of the will. Our will was bound up to do evil. We could try to do a few good things, but that alone was due to the common grace of God. If we did anything good while we were dead in our sins, it was because God’s grace shown upon us to let us do something good and loving to our spouse, children or friends.
Beyond that grace, though, we were bound to sin in total depravity. Not just our spirit but also our flesh, our very bodies, were bound up to do the will of the enemy.
But if we have come to Christ, then he has canceled the record of debt that stood against us by nailing it to the cross. We are made alive together with him who rose from the grave, and God is moving us into a new kingdom of grace, love and power. In the process of doing so, he has to make us a new person. Otherwise, when we come in, we’re going to be destructive to those we are in the kingdom of light with.
The Bible promises us that God is doing this work inside of us when it says, “I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36:26, ESV).
This is what we meditate on when we sing about the power of the cross. This is what we celebrate when we talk about Christ and his sacrifice. Let’s not forget it!
In 1989 I traveled to eastern Canada, conducting evangelistic meetings and testifying of the goodness of God in various churches that were in need of encouragement. Now when you return home from any season of traveling, you usually expect to find some personal rest and comfort. The last thing you expect to find is your house burned to the ground.
The fire department said it was one of the most incredible fires they had ever seen. Other than the chimney, there was absolutely nothing left. Everything had collapsed into the foundation, and not a single wall was left standing. It was a complete and total destruction of my home.
It was in this house that my family and I had learned to have faith to trust God for the impossible. We not only fed people beyond our natural means, but we were fed supernaturally as well. Now, suddenly, everything was gone. All the comforts, all the pictures of our children, all the work I had done to renovate the old log farmhouse, everything that we had accumulated up until that point — all gone.
At that moment, it would have been easy for me to stand in my yard and cry out, “God, is this how you reward me for taking in the homeless? Is this what I get for praising you, for living for you, for traveling to testify about you? You decide to take away everything that we have?” The enemy’s prime time for planting doubts in our mind regarding God’s goodness is right in the midst of our most intense trials. That is when we must make a choice.
As I stood before the embers of my house, I chose to trust God. I chose to believe that everything he allows is for a reason. In hindsight, I now realize that God knew I would be moving to New York. He also knew that certain things had to happen; certain things needed to be taken away from me. A deep trust had to be birthed within my heart, a personal revelation of God’s keeping power, and there was no other way to develop that kind of trust except through the fire. God knew that I would later be called to stand in far more difficult circumstances, so now was the time for greater faith to be worked into my heart. Those embers and ashes turned into a time of strengthening and great blessing.
Carter Conlon joined the pastoral staff of Times Square Church in 1994 and was appointed Senior Pastor in 2001. In May of 2020 he transitioned into a continuing role as General Overseer of Times Square Church, Inc.
The Lord rules over all of creation with majesty and power. His laws govern the whole universe—all of nature, every nation and all the affairs of men. He rules over the seas, the planets, the heavenly bodies and all their movements. The Bible tells us: “He rules by His power forever; His eyes observe the nations” (Psalm 66:7).
This Psalm was written by David, who is testifying, in essence: “Lord, your testimonies—your laws, decrees and words—are irrevocable. They are utterly reliable.” The author of Hebrews echoes this, declaring that God’s Living Word is eternal and unchangeable: “the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).
Think about it: There are laws operating in the universe that govern how things work, without exception. Consider the laws that rule the movements of the sun, moon, stars and earth. These heavenly bodies were all put into place when God spoke a word, and since that time they have been ruled by laws that God also spoke into being.
We’re told throughout the New Testament that this great God is our Father and that he takes pity on his children. Hebrews tells us the Lord is touched with the feelings of our infirmities, and that he hears our every cry and bottles every tear. Yet we’re also told that he is the righteous King who judges by his law. And his Word is his constitution, containing all of his legal decrees, by which he rules justly. Everything in existence is judged by his immutable Word.
Simply put, we can hold the Bible in our hands and know, “This book tells me who God is. It describes his attributes, nature, promises and judgments. It is his rule of law, from his own mouth, by which he rules and reigns. And it is a Word to which he has bound himself.”
Every earthly judge is bound to determine the case before him according to the established law. God rules and judges everything before him according to the eternal law—that is, his own established Word. When the Lord makes a ruling, he speaks by his living Word, a Word to which he has bound himself.