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This next lesson just sort of flowed into me as a kind of an added bonus to our overall study. It's the kind of down to earth type of prayer that at first glance seems to lack any depth whatsoever. But then at second glance it is really charged with deep insights into the power of prayer and contains some very precious blessings for you.
As you consider the title of this study, you may believe that it is so elementary that it is not worth your time to even look at it. But let me suggest to you that you will be exceedingly blessed as you discover the depth to which this study will take you - far beyond your wildest dreams.
A table blessing, in most cases, consists of a rather elementary rote form of thanksgiving, which in fact may be just fine as far as it goes. However, giving thanks for our food, as well as every other thing that we might do, is only a partial and somewhat limited understanding of a major insight into the power of this type of prayer. Not only do we need to give thanks for our food, but equally important is that we learn to bless our food - in fact, it may be even more important.
A number of years ago I was reading 1st Cor. 10:16a, "The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ?" I had read this many times before, as we all have. Nevertheless, my eyes saw something that I had never really seen previously. A kind of a revelation was coming to me. What I was beginning to see were various principles which are God given rights as heirs to his Kingdom with Jesus.
Note: The Scripture did not say, "The cup of blessing, which the Lord blesses," but rather it was saying quite clearly that we are the ones who are being called upon to do the blessing; it is not the Lord who does the blessing in this passage. That struck me very strongly. All my life I had been begging the Lord to bless me, which He does, but now all of a sudden I was seeing something quite new and fresh. I was to do the blessing. In this case I was to bless the wine and I was to bless the bread.
As I pondered this, the thought came to me to look up the word bless, which I did. It was at this moment that a tremendous transformation flowed over me. Yes, I did find passages where the emphasis is upon our being blessed by the Lord. However, the thing that I was seeing more than at any other time was the great many texts that were occupied with the notion that you and I are the ones who ought to be doing the blessing.
When I saw this, it made sense to me because I had already taken the time to study the word authority and the word power. Authority and power I had learned are given to us by the Lord. So, we do have the authority and the power to heal the sick and cast out demons. Consequently, knowing that we have this kind of authority and power, it no longer surprised me to see that we have been given the good work of blessing people, places, and things - including food.
Perhaps the most significant passage which came to me in this study was Psalm 103. In this Psalm, David is the one who is doing all the blessing.
Ps. 103:1-5. "Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits."
To this point in the Psalm, David is commanding his soul to bless the Lord. Not only does he do it once, but he does it twice. This clued me in to the significance of this passage. I had learned in the seminary when Jews repeat something two times they intend for you to sit up and take notice. Jesus does this quite often when He declares, "Verily, verily," or "Truly, truly." This repeating means that you and I need to really heed what is being said here.
First of all we need to command our soul to pay attention - that is our mind, our reason, and our logic. Our soul, in this case, needs to bless the Lord. There it was, plain as day. You and I have to get our mind on track in blessing the Lord. Not only that, but we need to be about the business of getting our soul, our mind, our heart, our spirit and our whole being busy blessing the name of the Lord. WOW! What an insight! "Blessed be the name of the Lord!" "Bless his holy name!" "Blessed be the name of Jesus!"
But then, upon further reflection, I saw that is just what Jesus himself had suggested we do in the Lord's prayer - to hallow the name of the Father. "Hallowed be thy name."
The second insight was to bless the Lord for all of his benefits. We are to bless the Lord for all the manifold benefits which are ours in Jesus. But then you might say, "What benefits?" Interestingly the Psalm goes on to list a number of his benefits, "who forgives all your iniquity," "who heals all your diseases," "who redeems your life from the Pit," "who crowns you with good as long as you live, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's"
Instead of saying, "Bless me Lord with forgiveness." We ought to be saying, "I bless you Lord for your Forgiveness." And so forth!
The Lord has already provided you with all kinds of benefits through the blood of Jesus. Jesus paid the price. Forgiveness, healing, redemption from the Pit, crowning you with prosperity, and much, much more are all yours. Now all you have to do to receive these very precious benefits is to simply bless the Lord for them.
Begin now! Begin to bless the Lord daily for all your needs and they will flow into your life as never before. Interestingly enough all this good stuff comes to you out of the Old Testament. Nevertheless, Peter reminds us of the very same promises in 2nd Pet. 1:3-4.
"His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises [benefits], that through these you may escape from the corruption that is in the world, [i.e. sin, sickness, demonic oppression from the Pit, and poverty], because of passion [lust], and become partakers of the divine nature."
I believe that you can easily see the similarities between this passage by Peter and the previous passage by David. Still, in the New Testament, Peter is able to go one step further. He tells us that we can by the divine power of the Lord become partakers of his very divine nature. This is the ultimate promise and/or benefit. You might even say that this is the very goal of this particular study. This is why I suggested at the very beginning of our study that I would lead you beyond your wildest dreams.
As you can see, the more knowledge you have about the benefits and the promises, the more likely you are to receive them. After all you can't bless the Lord for something that you do not know about. Think about it. If you are not receiving a blessing in some area of your life, then it may well be that you just have not taken the time to find that benefit and/or promise, so that you can bless the Lord for all that He has already given to you. Frankly, finding the promise or the benefit that fits your need means that you must take the time to look up the particular Scripture that speaks to your situation. In our fast food society, we sometimes put demands on the Lord for a fast answer, and we thereby miss our blessing. You need to do it.
Returning to 1st Corinthians chapter ten, I began once again to see things that I had not seen previously. I noted with interest that Paul began his discussion concerning the blessing of bread and wine with an interesting phrase, "Therefore, my beloved, shun the worship of idols." I began to wonder in what way did our participation in the Lord's Supper have to do with shunning the worship of idols? So, I read on.
At first Paul talks about our being one body. Simple enough, we are all one as we join together in the Lord's Supper. But, the next words really made me think. It had something to do with eating and becoming "partners" with the very thing that we eat. For a moment I could catch that thought. I eat some bread and it becomes a part of me.
But Paul is not aiming at anything so elementary. He is standing ready to take us even deeper, much deeper into the supernatural. He tells us point blank, "I do not want you to be partners with demons."
WOW! That's pretty heavy stuff. None of us want to be partners with demons. I sure don't! And I am sure that you do not want to be partners with demons - neither you, nor your family. As you ponder the rest of this chapter, I believe that you will begin to see a great deal more. Paul does not want to frighten you, nor does he want you to be ignorant of the fact that it is possible to become partners with demons through the things you are eating.
Keep in mind that you do not know where your food has come from. The rice you eat may have come from California. But, somewhere along the line it may have been blessed by a farmer using the zodiac. Or it might have been packaged by a person who is into some form of witchcraft. Or it may have been touched by someone with a form of disease. Of course, Jesus gives us a very special promise concerning such things in that if we eat some form of poison it will not hurt us in Mark 16:18, or in Luke 10:19. These are very powerful promises and benefits that you need to ponder and meditate upon.
Ultimately, Paul does tell us that we have nothing to fear if we but continue in giving thanks. Verse 30. "If I partake with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of that for which I give thanks?" Thankfulness is and ought to be a way of blessing the Lord for our food.
In doing so, every threat of demonic power is broken and it will not enter my body. Yes, I know that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit - yes, they are! And we might tend to believe that no demonic power can enter into my body because of that fact. However, what I do know is that Paul is warning us to be cautious in what we eat by giving thanks and/or blessing the food that we eat. If the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to encourage us in this way, then there must be a solid reason for doing so.
In this case, blessing food and giving thanks for it appears to be vital to this passage of Scripture. In the midst of this is a clear warning that demons can be in the very food you are eating or giving to your children.
I know that some folks are disagreeing with me on this and that is OK. However, how many of you have had some ailment enter into your body because of some form of virus or germ? So why then are we offended when we consider the possibility of a demonic power coming into our bodies through food offered to idols? Let me assure you that these warnings in chapter ten are for us as Spirit filled Christians.
When children rebel, it's really hard to know just what to do. Very often when you tell them to go to the right, they go as far to the left as they think they can go. When you attempt to talk with them they may listen, but you sense that your attempts are falling on deaf ears. When this happened in our own household it was very frustrating. When our son's grades began to slip, and after we had been called to school a couple of times because of arguments with the teachers, we were really troubled.
We love our kids and will do just about anything for them. And even though I had been trained as a pastor and Holly had been a school teacher, we still lacked the wisdom we needed when without warning rebellion and anger made their appearance. We knew Jesus and trusted the Word, but whatever we tried to do seemed to fall short until we recalled our struggle with my mom.
Taking the same principles, Holly and I found time daily to begin to pray for our son and our daughter.
Here is a point you must learn. If you are going to win any spiritual and supernatural battles, you must take the time. If you love someone and you want to see them healed and cleansed and renewed, you need to set aside time day by day to fight the good fight of faith. If you are not willing to spend the time in regard to a loved one, then you really need to consider just how much you do love them. After all, you are engaged in a battle of life and death.
We prayed the same kind of prayers we had prayed for Grandma, prayers of loosing them from various spirits and binding them up under the power of the Holy Spirit with the fruit and the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Holly and I began a daily ritual for the sake of our kids. Every day, and sometimes twice a day, we would go into each of their rooms and lay our hands on every item, their bed, chest of drawers, stereo, clothes and so forth as we commanded various spirits of rebellion and anger to leave. At the same time we anointed everything with the Holy Spirit and blessed each item with the fruit and the gifts. We also touched the windows and the doors. We praised the Lord with Ps. 91 asking the mighty angels of the Lord to be present with flaming swords to drive away the evil one.
In the midst of this we would point our hands in the direction of their schools and command the blessing to come to each of them, to their mind, their heart, their soul, their spirit, their body and their whole being. Some of this might sound redundant, and it is. But out of love for Kristin and John we wanted to make sure that we covered them completely. We did not want to miss anything.
I know that some of you have had different training and that's OK. All Holly and I can do is to share our testimony, and the reason we are sharing it is because this is what worked for us. You may find some of these things helpful and we praise the Lord that you may share some things with us that have worked for you, because we are all here to encourage one another - especially in this precious area of being a blessing to our kids.
We saw Kristin's grades begin to improve, and with John there was a total turn around over a period of three to four years. He once again became an "A" student. He was elected to head up the Pep Rallies at his school. He became the home coming king for his senior year, and finally he was the co-valedictorian.
We used no counseling of any sort. We trusted totally in the Lord as we spent hours each week in prayer. After high school our son and daughter have been absolutely golden. Kristin went on to get married, and now has a daughter with her husband, Joe.
John did very well in college. In his senior year he was elected - by a write in vote - to the student council and received a scholarship. He is now working at a very fine vocation.
Holly and I can and do praise Jesus daily for each of our kids.
Finally, we have taught these principles to other parents and we have seen them pray with power and authority as they commanded drugs and drinking and sex out of their children's lives. So once again, we know that this works - not just for us - but for others.
I believe that you will agree with me that giving thanks for our food and blessing it in the name of Jesus is vital to our physical well being as well as our spiritual well being. Holly and I have developed a very simple meal time prayer, which I would like to share with you. It is a simple prayer, but it covers all of the bases, thanksgiving and blessing.
"Lord we give thanks to you for this food and bless it in the name of Jesus."
Throughout our study, one word keeps bouncing along and you might just miss it, and so it is that I want to turn your attention to it. It is the Greek word koinonia. This word has a vast and very powerful meaning. An in depth study of just this one word would take up several pages. Perhaps at another time we will be able to delve into its full, rich meaning, that we might fully garner all that the Holy Spirit has given to us.
We have seen it in a number of different ways as we moved from passage to passage. We saw it used as our "participation" in the bread and wine. We noted it as having something to do with being a "partner" in what we eat. Or, on the more supernatural side, we witnessed Paul's admonition not to be "partners" with demons. We are encouraged by Peter to "partake" of the divine nature.
In all of our studies, this word in and of itself brings a supernatural quality to the various passages where it is found. Very often you see it as the underlying word for "fellowship." You might note the use of that word in 1st John chapter one. As you read that passage you can sense not just a fellowship of good friends - it can have this meaning - but a fellowship filled with divine qualities.
We very often see it in relation to the Lord's Supper, where we see it translated as communion, such as in 1st Corinthians chapter ten, where Paul declared that we participate in the bread and the wine, or have communion in the bread and the wine, or even fellowship in the bread and the wine. Some translators even go so far as to say that we are inter-participating in the bread and the wine.
Now that we have just barely scratched the surface of this very powerful word, I am tempted to continue along this line. However, for this study, I felt that I would at least open your eyes to the vast realm of wisdom which lies just below the surface of so many of the words given to us by the Holy Spirit.
The Lord has loaded every passage with far more than we can ever appreciate or comprehend. And even though our minds may fail us, the Holy Spirit himself intercedes for us as we hunger after the wealth of God's manifold benefits and promises.
We praise the Lord for you and we bless you in the name of Jesus.